Forest bathing, a form of nature therapy.
Shinrin - yoku is a Japanese term for forest bathing , the word Shinrin means forest and yoku means bathing. It basically refers to visiting the forest for therapeutic benefits.
Forest therapy was first developed in Japan during the 1980's and has now become a subject of prominence in preventive health care and Japanese medicine. The Japanese government had spent a lot of money in forest bathing programmes. Recently , even the people from the West have started giving importance to forest bathing. It is now become a ritual everyone needs to follow.
Science behind forest bathing :
Several experiments have been conducted to learn how forest bathing positively affects the human body. Certain studies have concluded that the scents (phytoncides) released from trees have the greatest impact on the human body.
Phytoncides are basically natural oils present within the plant and they're a part of the tree's defense mechanism against insects, fungi , algae and bacteria. It is said that phytoncides have the ability to cure depression and anxiety by curbing the production of stress hormones. Certain studies also state that phytoncides boost natural killer cell activity and aid the production of anti - cancer proteins in the body. Walking into the woods works through all your 5 senses ; Sight, smell, hearing , touch and taste.
So how does it actually feel to 'forest bathe'?
Imagine slowly walking into the forest , gazing like a child at the mesmerizing , majestic green trees escalating towards the bright blue sky, you observe sun rays descending from the heavens above and mingling with the forest. You then sit on a log of wood with your eyes closed and mind open inhaling fresh air that's mixed with forest scents , listening to leaves rustling, birds chirping as you feel the warmth of the sun and cool gentle wind brushing against your skin. No notifications, No noise just the leaves , birds and your inner voice.
Feels good. Doesn't it?
Now let's take a precise look at the health benefits of forest bathing :
Boosts immune system
Increases anti cancer cells.
Reduces cortisol levels (Stress Hormones)
Helps cure insomnia
Lowers blood pressure levels
Improves respiratory function
Reduces depression and anxiety
Slows down your heart rate
Reduces ADHD symptoms ( hyperactivity )
Decreases risk of cardiovascular diseases
Increases energy levels
Accelerates speed of recovery from illness or surgery
Prevents type 2 diabetes and obesity
Increase concentration and mindfulness
Promotes overall wellness
How to forest bathe?
Switch off your Mobile phone and ditch all your gadgets for a few hours.
Drive to a forest nearby , if a forest isn't accessible a garden with few trees will also work.
Walk into the forest and observe everything around. You're here to take in the forest atmosphere and relax.
Sit down, take deep breaths and be in the moment.
Enjoy the health - healing benefits! :)
There's no wifi in the forest but you'll surely find a connection ; with yourself.
Now that you know how forest bathing works. When are you planning on visiting the woods?
Let the forest be thy companion and doctor in distress.
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