What is shinrin-yoku and what can it do for you?

Forest-bathing is an excellent way to increase your immune health and mental health

green trees near mountains during daytime

If you’re interested in reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing your immune system function, healing your body after surgery, and so much more, then you’ll enjoy shinrin-yoku. Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term that literally translates as forest-bathing.

I confess that the term forest-bathing has always sounded stupid to me, a little hokey even, but the effects it has on the mind and body are absolutely real and wonderful.

Forest-bathing is a form of meditation. You don’t need to do anything extraordinary and crazy, you simply walk through the forest at a slow pace, taking in your environment using every sense. Sight, smell, taste, sounds and emotions. I definitely “feel” the forest on many levels as I do this. It’s difficult to explain, but it touches and comforts me in a place that goes beyond tangible memories, a place deep in the heart of me.

forest pathway

As someone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest camping, skiing, hiking, boating, swimming in lakes, and just being in the woods, I have a LOT of memories that involve the forest. And over the years, especially now that I live in a city, I’ve found I need to spend time in the mountains and forests a few times a year for my mental health. I’ve only recently learned what it does for my physical health.

I prefer there be a lake or river nearby. Both the sound of the water as it travels downstream or as it laps against the shoreline kick up the element of relaxation and comfort for me by several notches.

Kirkjufell, Iceland

I even chose a college (back in the day) that’s nestled in the trees on top of a hill in Bend, Oregon, minutes from Mt. Bachelor. One of my classes was downhill skiing and another was white water rafting, to give you an idea of how that college connected with the environment around it.

I love being in nature! It brings pleasure and peace through every one of my senses, but most of all it soothes me in ways I can’t begin to explain.

So, if you’re looking for all the benefits listed above, get yourself to the forest as soon as you can and for as long as you can. You’ll walk away renewed in more than one way. And when you can’t manage to physically get away, watching a video of the forest and nature is soothing on some level. It’s a nice stand-in until you can get to the forest.

Thank you for visiting my blog and happy reading!

Inspirational quote:

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt.”—John Muir

Wherever I roam, nature is the only stranger that feels like home.”–Angie Welland-Crosby

Book Recommendation/suggestion:

Heart Bones” by Colleen Hoover. You’ll find my review on Goodreads.

*Photo images from Unsplash free service

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