A woman in a white shirt stands in a lush forest, smiling and stretching with her hands behind her head, enjoying the natural surroundings.

Japanese “forest Bathing” Takes Being One With Nature To A New Level

Published on June 25, 2018

In this day and age, it’s become harder and harder to unplug from technology and enjoy a day outdoors. Sometimes even the act of visualizing spending the day in nature can be stress relieving. In Japan, they’ve recognized the importance of connecting with nature for our well being and have dedicated a whole medical practice to it called shinrin-yoku, or “Forest Bathing.

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TREES AS MEDICINE

Since the 1980’s the Japanese medical community have amassed research showing the benefits of spending a prolonged amount of time in the forest. Trees actually secrete oil that can be absorbed by our skin and respiratory system, which scientists believe is a crucial factor to how forest bathing reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the immune system.

A FORM OF THERAPY

Unlike taking a hike or walk, the point of forest bathing is to absorb and connect with nature just by being in its presence. To do so, practicers of shinrin-yoku suggest you tap into your senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. After spending a good amount of time in nature, people report feeling an improvement in mood, increased energy level, and better sleeping patterns.

BECOME ONE WITH NATURE

While all of this sounds amazing, you may be wondering where you can get a shinrin-yoku experience outside of Japan. Luckily, the practice is slowly making its way over to the United States. At the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, guests stay in Adirondack-style lodges surrounded by a serene landscape of mountains, lakes, and forests, and are provided with a trail map and instructions to get the full forest bathing experience. Then, after a day of soaking in over 16 miles of wooded trails you can return to your cabin and enjoy a relaxing aromatherapy tension relief massage.


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