I am lucky enough to be nearing 15 days in Japan now and having visited so many divine natural sites I can’t help but appreciate and enjoy the benefits of “shinrin-yoku″ this Japanese Forest Bathing tradition.
I have Forest Bathed in many locations including ancient cedar forests planted to protect Samari, very hot and humid Torii Gate Temples, the Bamboo Forrest, in Nara with the sacred Deer at the site of a temple that is the worlds largest wooden structure dating back to the 700’s, and more see some of my snaps below.
These walks have included the elements required to achieve the benefits of shinrin-yoku:
- taking 2 hours or more
- walking mindfully
- seeing the nature around me
- breathing in the beauty around me
- being as peaceful (as you can be while travelling with 6 young children!)
- sitting at times
The Japanese have done loads of great research into forest bathing. ‘One study from researchers at Chiba University compared nearly 300 college-age subjects after they took walks in a city and after they walked in a forest. The students had lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, lower pulse rates and and lower blood pressure after they took forest baths than on days when they'd walked in the city.’
‘Additional research from Nippon Medical School found that immune-boosting human "natural killer" cells, which help protect against viruses and cancers, showed higher activity levels after subjects went forest bathing, increasing even further after a second day of walking in the woods. The cells continued to function at a higher level for more than a week after the experience, too.’
To learn more visit this great article, it explains more about how these great changes occur in you body, including more on ‘phytoncides’ a key benefit of Forest Bathing.