What the heck is Forest Bathing?
You may not have heard of it before but forest bathing has actually been around since the 1980s. And no, it has nothing to do with getting wet (unless it’s raining). The practice of forest bathing originated in Japan and is known there as Shinrin-yoku which means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” The practice is quite simple: a person need only visit a natural area such as forest and walk, relax and breath in the fresh air. As a result you’ll gain calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits.
Read more about forest bathing at National Geographic.
The practice has become a major part of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. There’s scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time in the forest and it probably seems obvious that it would do a body good to spend some time in the natural environment. In recent years we’ve become an increasingly sedentary and indoor species. Particularly in the Chicago climate during fall, winter and spring, often the only times we step foot outside is for our daily commute or to take the kids to practice or school. In a 2001 survey by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans claimed that they spend 87% of their time indoors and another 6% in a vehicle. Yuck!
So let’s get outside!
Spending time in natural environments has been linked to lower stress levels, improved working memory and feeling more alive, among others. I agree: I always feel much better after taking a walk through Hickory Creek Preserve in Mokena. I’m fortunate to have such a wonderful location for forest bathing near my house. If you do a little research you’ll most likely find a park, forest preserve, or other natural area where you can go try forest bathing out for yourself. You may even have a few trees in your yard that you can go relax under. With Spring fast approaching you’ll be able to try it out soon for yourself; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Here’s a helpful link for finding natural areas in Will County.
If you want your very own forest give us a call, we’ll plant one for you!