In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed by the constant barrage of stimuli that surrounds us. From our phones, to work, to daily chores, it’s important to take a step back and unwind from time to time. That’s where the practice of forest bathing comes in.
Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, originated in Japan as a way to connect with nature and promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So Shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.
Forest bathing is not hiking or exercise, but rather a slow and mindful walk through a forested area. It’s about taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest, and allowing yourself to fully immerse in the experience. During a forest bath, you might participate in activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or simply observing the natural world around you. The goal is to be present in the moment and connect with nature.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature has numerous health benefits that includes:
- Reduce stress levels by reducing cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.
- Improve immune function by increasing the production of natural killer cells, which play a role in fighting cancer and viruses.
- Lower blood pressure which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improve mood and decrease symptoms of depression.
Forest bathing is a simple practice that anyone can do, regardless of age or fitness level.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Find a nearby forest or park: You don’t have to go far to reap the benefits of forest bathing. Find a nearby forest or park that you can visit regularly.
2. Leave your phone behind: When you’re forest bathing, it’s important to disconnect from technology and be fully present in the moment. Leave your phone behind and let yourself fully immerse in the experience.
3. Slow down and breathe: Forest bathing is not about getting from point A to point B, but rather about slowing down and taking in your surroundings. Deep breathing exercises can help you connect with the forest and calm your mind.
4. Use your senses: When you’re forest bathing, allow yourself to fully engage with your senses. Smell the fresh air, feel the texture of the leaves and the ground beneath your feet, listen to the birds and the rustling of the leaves, and take in the colors and shapes of the natural world around you.
Incorporating forest bathing into your daily routine can have a significant impact on your overall health and happiness. So, why not try it today and experience the benefits for yourself?
About The Author
Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get.