Wash away stress with Forest Bathing
November 01, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
‘Forest bathing’, or shinrin- yoku, is the ancient Japanese art of walking in the woods.
I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life at varying degrees of strength. According to the NHS it affects 5% of the population, especially those between 35 to 59. On my journey towards mental resilience, I have been focused on connecting with nature.
Research shows that doses of nature can improve mental and physiological health. The benefits of forest bathing were scientifically shown in the 1980s
by Japanese physician and immunologist, Dr Qing Li. The Japanese government later introduced it into their national health programme.
The Woodland Trust has suggested that ‘Forest Bathing should be among a range of non- medical therapies and activities recommended by GPs to boost patients wellbeing’. According to Dr Li, just two hours in the forest once a month can give notable beneficial changes.
The constant destructive onslaught of our natural world is not only affecting our planet’s ability to absorb carbon, but will ultimately have an effect on our collective wellbeing as a species.
As author Clarissa Estes says in The Faithful Gardener, “To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”
After reading this article, plan to find a quiet forest and spend a few hours sitting and breathing in it. Experience your surroundings with all five senses. You’ll feel much better for it, even more so if you make it a regular thing.
For more information about Forest Bathing, visit the website for the Forest Bathing Institute https://tfb.institute/