Whether you call it a fitness trend or a mindfulness practice, Forest Bathing is a term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called Shinrin-Yoku (“taking in the forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.
Whether you’re a trained guide or just love the idea of Forest Bathing, share this bundle of 20 beautifully-designed images about the practice of Forest Bathing and its benefits.
Inside The Bundle
The Forest Bathing Bundle includes 20 beautiful pieces of visual content:
- Forest Bathing is known by many names, like Forest and Nature Therapy, Forest Therapy, and Shinrin-Yoku, which means “taking in the forest” in Japanese. Forest Bathing is an eco-therapeutic practice done in nature which can be integrated into many outdoor experiences from simply walking, sitting to outdoor adventures.
- Forest Bathing guides you into an inner state of relaxation, wellness and sensory restoration through participating in a series of sensory orientated and present moment focused invitations that guide you into a connection and communication with the forest and nature.
- Forest Bathing is accessible to everyone and each individual will practice in a different way as led by their forest bathing guide. It is a perfect way to counterbalance being indoors, sitting and on tech devices while supporting you in building wellness that works for you.
- Forest bathing is not just for the wilderness-lover, it can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. For a more structured experience, join a trained guide for a meditative ecotherapy excursion.
- Looking for a way to unwind? How about experiencing the sights, sounds and feel of the forest, soaking it all in for its therapeutic value? Forest bathing allows you to take time to unwind and connect with nature to improve your health. Simply put, forest bathing is retreating to nature to immerse in the forest atmosphere.
- Multiple forest bathing studies have demonstrated its ability to significantly reduce blood pressure, stress levels and pulse rate. A trip through the woods will also increase your body’s adiponectin levels. These have an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessel cells and have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack.
- More Energy & Better Sleep – Many of us notice the invigorating feeling we get from taking a deep breath in a natural location. It’s not just your imagination — Forest Bathing has been shown to increase energy and fight fatigue. At the same time, it triggers hormones and processes in our body that improve sleep. It’s also been shown to reduce dopamine and cortisol levels, meaning it reduces stress and calms the body and mind
- Mind-Boosting Effects – A small study of 19 men showed that anxiety, depression and confusion levels were improved after a Forest Bathing trip. They compared the forest walking group to one walking through an urban area. Even though both groups had the health benefits of exercise, the Forest Bathing group clearly won.
- Decreased Inflammation – Forest air is noticeably fresher than city air, or even other nature environments since the trees are busy converting CO2 into fresh oxygen for our lungs. Not only is the air fresher, but the compounds naturally released by the trees decrease inflammation. The D-limonene found in some forest air reduces lung inflammation. Those with breathing problems like asthma and COPD have shown improvement after forest bathing as oxygen is increased and inflammation is lessened.
- How Often Should You Forest Bathe? Most of the studies showed benefits when participants went on Forest Bathing trips every one to four weeks. The more often you can go, the better. However, positive results were still seen even seven days after a forest bathing trip, and even as long as 30 days later.
- Enhance Forest Bathing With Earthing – Since the idea is to connect with the Earth, grounding or barefoot shoes help improve the experience. This also enhances your perception of your surroundings. Depending on where you Forest Bathe, you can kick your shoes off and go barefoot. Electromagnetic exposure from wireless devices, cell phone towers, and other modern-day technology saturates our environments. Earthing and Forest Bathing gives us a way to reset our natural electromagnetic fields.
- Kickstart Your Creativity – Time in nature improves our mental performance and creativity. One study of a group of Outward Bound participants found they performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. Researcher David Strayer says this occurs when we’ve been immersed in nature long enough.
- Forest Bathing is not something to rush through and are not undertaken with the primary goal of physical exercise. We prefer to avoid the term “hiking” because of its implications of physical exertion. They are typically a mile or less and range in duration from two to four hours.
- Forest Bathing is best seen as a practice, not a one-time event. Developing a meaningful relationship with nature occurs over time, and is deepened by returning again and again throughout the natural cycles of the seasons. Like meditation, yoga, prayer, and working out, Forest Bathing is a practice. And because it is a practice, it is best to learn it from a qualified guide.
- Besides being a deeply healing practice, Forest Bathing is an emerging community of friends and activists who are making a global impact. As we learn to love the forests, we become more engaged in working for their well-being.
- Forest Bathing is not just about taking walks in the forest. The walks are important, but there are other core routines that we can do that will help in our deepening relationship with nature, and in the exchange of health benefits between humans and the more-than-human-world.
- Forest Bathing is not an extractive process, where we treat forests as a “resource” from which we extract well being for humans. Instead, it is a deeply relational practice with a sense of loving and tender connection. This connection leads naturally to an ethic of tenderness and reciprocity. Forest Bathing is about creating relationships between humans and the more-than-human world, in which the relationship itself becomes a field of healing and a source of joyful well-being.
- There is an infinite number of healing activities that can be incorporated into Forest Bathing. An activity is likely to be healing when it makes room for listening, for quiet and accepting presence, and for inquiry through all eight of the sensory modes we possess.
- Use all your senses to really experience the full spectrum of the forest. Forest Bathing is an exercise in mindfulness where you pay attention to everything happening right now.
- A nature journal is one of a Forest Bather’s best allies. Journaling is a means of gathering your thoughts and experiences into a cohesive message or record. Journaling also guides you to notice things and put them into words. You can use your journal to draw and study plants, record observations from your sit spot, focus your attention, and write passing thoughts.