I enjoy bathing in sunshine and bathing in bubbles. I even bathed in chocolate once at the
Hershey Spa as part of their “Everything Chocolate” treatment, which included a
Whipped Cocoa Bath, Chocolate Fondue Wrap, Cocoa Massage, and more. But bathing
in the forest? Now that was something I had never heard of or considered.
article from the Washington Post that identified forest bathing as a hot
fitness trend that is gaining traction, like yoga thirty years ago. In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries coined the term Shinrin-yoku which translates
to “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” The Japanese cover forest therapy under their
healthcare insurance and even perform blood-sampling studies to determine the
before and after effects of this integrative therapy. Apparently, many trees give off organic
compounds that support our natural killer cells that are part of our immune
system’s way of fighting cancer. In
Japan, only when a forest trail has the desired effect on increasing natural
killer cells, will it be ‘certified’ for treatment.
I believe in the power of the woods to sooth the nerves and heal. Others agree.
Some have proven that the process of soaking up the
sights, smells and sounds of a natural setting promotes physiological and
psychological health. David Yaden, a
research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center,
said “There have been studies comparing walking in nature with walking in an
urban environment and testing people on their mood, different aspects of
depression, and in some cases, brain scans. In the natural setting, people are
more relaxed and less stressed.”
|A perfect place for forest therapy – Ridley Creek State Park|
for a walk in the woods. And I don’t mean a power walk through the woods. Forest bathing demands you slow down as you meander, breathe and open up all your senses. Yes, that means stopping to
smell the roses! According to their website (www.shinrin-yoku.org),
this is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy.
beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle
something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so
wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
I believe that as humans we need an escape from the concrete jungle and
our indoor spaces. We need the tonic of
nature. So pardon me as I leave you
here. A sense of urgency has come over
me. I have a forest bath to take.