Forest Bathing: Walk in the woods for a healthy life!

Forest Bathing: Walk in the woods for a healthy life!

You might already know that nature heals, but did you know that “forest bathing” can wash off your stress?

Yes! Forest bathing can wash off your stress, giving you mental clarity and peace of mind. But don’t imagine the process as stripping down and cleaning off in the river. Think of it as a purposeful walk or a mobile meditation of kinds.

Today we are living in such a fast-moving, chaotic world with so many things to do every day. Hence we all need to destress sometimes. Fortunately, nature offers a perfect and natural way to do just that, and often, it will not even cost you a cent. 

Forest bathing comes from a Japanese term, “Shinrin-yoku”. It’s the practice of “immersing yourself in nature” to improve your well-being. Simply put, it means spending time amongst trees to combat stress.

To do this, you just need to walk through trees, take a deep breath, open your mind and all your senses, and just forget your world of woes and responsibilities for a little while.

Walking for just 40 minutes in the woods or “forest bathing” can greatly improve your physical and mental health. All you must do is walk quietly, slowly and deliberately, taking in the sounds, fragrances, colours, and general vibe of nature.

bathing-in-forest

Trees produce a compound called ‘phytoncides’, which protects plants from rotting. This chemical can lower cortisol levels in humans, and increase immunity. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates metabolism in the cells and helps us control stress within the body.  When you are in a forest, you should start breathing more regularly to lower your cortisol production, which makes you feel de-stressed.

Regular forest bathing provides a lot of health benefits including:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves mood
  • Increases ability to focus (even in children with ADHD)
  • Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increases energy level
  • Improves sleep

In Japan, forest bathing trails are tested and qualified for health benefits, whereas in the United States, there are no guidelines that qualify trails for forest bathing. However, some American hotels, spas, resorts, retreat centres, gardens and parks are providing guided “forest bathing” experiences.

So, are you searching for a wonderful place to destress?

You can partake in forest bathing at the following places:

  • Canyon Ranch, Tucson
  • Mohonk Mountain House, New York
  • The Mayflower Grace, Washington
  • Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
  • Big Cedar Lodge, Missouri
  • Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania
  • L’auberge De Sedona, Arizona
  • Stowe Mountain Lodge, Vermont
  • Trout Point Lodge, Canada

Even though more research needs to be done to know the effect of nature on our brains, we all know that strolling through the woods can be beneficial.

Just think of where Yoga was 30 years back and where it is today, and you will realize that these practices move from the fringe to the mainstream as people come to know their value.

Forest bathing is already on its way to establish itself as a top health trend. Take a break from the rush of your daily routine and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

Forest bathing is already on its way to establish itself as a top health trend. Take a break from the rush of your daily routine and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

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