what is forest bathing / shinrin yoku
WHAT IS FOREST BATHING AND WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS ON OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Origins of Shinrin-Yoku in Japan
Forest Bathing originated in Japan about forty years ago. There it is called Shinrin-Yoku, which we can translate as: "Relaxation that comes from immersing yourself in the atmosphere of the forest." Beautiful! A little less nuanced, we call it Forest Bathing in our part of the world.
Remedy for Stress
The strict social norms and demanding working conditions cause a lot of stress in Japanese society. In search of a cure, scientists discovered the positive effects of Forest Bathing. It has a beneficial effect on our health in general, and in particular on stress-related complaints.
We too often experience stress in our busy lives with its deadlines, full agendas and social obligations. As a result, there is often little time to really relax and come to ourselves. Then forest bathing is a relief. An effective way to deeply relax and feel ourselves more.
Come to yourself
Forest bathing can also serve as a mirror inviting us to reflect. So we can see the world and the people around us again with an open, fresh look. And we can interact with each other with more understanding and kindness; at home, at work, in traffic, or in the supermarket.
"Forest Bathing is a whole new way of being in nature. It brings me out of my head and into my body. I now feel loose, open, connected and happy."
DEEPEN OUR CONNECTION WITH NATURE
Forest bathing allows us to experience and deepen our connection with nature. By immersing ourselves in its atmosphere. So that we can experience her pure and sometimes raw beauty, silence and vitality. And discover that it also lives in us.
During a forest bathing session you are invited to participate in a number of mindfulness-based exercises. Its purpose is to help you get out of your head and into your body.
The structure of a forest bathing walk is very flexible but also has a number of fixed elements:
Slowing down your hastiness and tendency to keep going. Allowing yourself to move slowly and stand still. There is no end goal to get to.
Letting go of your daily worries and opening your senses to the natural surroundings. What do you perceive when you attentively listen, look, smell, taste and touch.
Meeting the natural world in its many appearances. Relaxed and curious about what presents itself. The rustle of the wind, the warmth of the sunlight, raindrops on your face, the smell of pine needles, the sound of rippling water.
During the walk we also stop every now and then to share our experiences. Where everyone has the opportunity to share experiences and wonders with the other participants. This makes Forest Bathing an even richer experience for everyone. Everything is welcome, nothing is required.
Take a look at our program for upcoming events.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF FOREST BATHING
In recent decades a lot of research has been done internationally into the effects of forest bathing on our health. Again and again this shows the positive effects on our physical, emotional and psychological health.
The most important findings are:
- Strengthens imune system and nervous system
- Reduces stress related complaints
- Lowers blood pressure
- Has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels
- Accelerates recovery from illness
- Increases ability to focus attention and think creatively and solution-oriented
- Increases general sense of well-being
- Strengthens the sense of belonging and being part of a greater whole
- Strengthens awareness of being co-responsible for the well-being of all life on Earth