Forest bathing: Why this mindfulness practice is trending
Life + Culture
3 min read
The self-care trend isn’t going anywhere, and an increasingly important part of it is connecting with nature. A great way to do this is forest bathing, which, as you might have guessed, has nothing to do with taking a bath in a forest. Read on to learn more about this ritual that will help you disconnect from all the noise and reconnect with both yourself and the natural world.
What is forest bathing?
It’s pretty simple – you just walk into a forest, and do your best to completely immerse yourself in your surroundings. Through connecting with the trees and the planet, you should be able to develop and state of calm, minimise stress and just generally feel better. It’s all about breathing deeply as you move slowly between the trees, physically touching the trees around you, and doing your best to engage all your senses. No technology allowed, of course. The practice has roots in Japanese culture, where it was developed about 30 years ago and called shinrin-yoku. It was meant to draw people away from their usual urban setting and into nature.
How does it help?
Connecting with nature doesn’t just sound relaxing, it has clear benefits for your health and has been shown to reduce stress. A study done by King’s College London last year concluded that exposure to trees and the sounds of a forest can have a positive impact on your mental health. Forest bathing has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels, and boost immunity. It’s easy for almost anyone to do, as well, regardless of physical capability.
Where can I bathe?
A forest bathing session typically lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours, and you can do a self-guided session in almost any wooded area. That said, if you’re looking for some guidance, travel brand Rusticae has a great trip option that’s focused on forest bathing. Called Baño de Bosques, it’s a two-day experience just outside of Barcelona that involves spending your nights in a beautiful hotel, and your days at the spa and in the tranquility of the forest. “We felt really connected to this experience, an a lot of our customers were asking about doing something like this” says Véronica Pérez. “It fits perfectly within our idea of sustainability.” Sign up now and finish up the summer feeling refreshed and centred.
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Written by - Tara MacInnis