The history: The Japanese government coined the term, “forest bathing,” in 1982; its translation, “shinrin-yoku” means “taking in the forest atmosphere,” i.e., it’s a simple concept that revolves around quietly walking and staying mindful of the sounds, scents, colors, and “feel” of the forest setting that surrounds you.
Rooted in medical evidence: What’s the purpose of forest bathing? The medical evidence that backs it up—studies show it offers the following health benefits: significantly lowers blood pressure (-1.4 percent), heart rate (-5.8 percent), cortisol levels (-12.4 percent), and sympathetic nerve activity (-7 percent) compared with city walks, according to our trends report. As well, trees emit phytoncides, airborne, aromatic chemicals/oils said to positively impact people’s immune system markers.
Into the woods: Read on for examples of forest bathing practices already underway around the world.
Image courtesy of Blackberry Farms; photo credit Rau