Why we all should be doing it, as it’s a trend, that’s here to stay...
Shinrin-yoku (森林浴)—which literally translates to “forest bath”—is the Japanese practice of “bathing” oneself in nature with the intention of receiving therapeutic benefits.
Founded in Japan in the 1980s (the word itself was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982), the practice of shinrin-yoku has since spread widely across the planet.
Forests are enchanting, peaceful places full of magic and natural wonder... And you are probably wondering why on earth I’m talking about forests on a beauty blog - But did you know that spending time in forests can have an immensely positive effect on both your psychological and physical health? You know that beauty glow people talk about.
Now we know that if our physical and mental health are in check we literally glow and if you feel like you are a bit off balance now is the time to embrace this form of ecotherapy.
Studies from the early 1990s, show the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support what we innately know: time spent immersed in nature is good for us. Forest bathing is a health trend that’s here to stay!
Forest bathing requires a different mindset. You are embarking on more of a leisurely, meditative experience. You are strolling through nature, or lying down on the ground in a forest and taking your time. It’s important to engage with all of your senses. You are noticing the sensations that appear and how you’re connecting to the natural world.
This process of returning to nature can bring you to a heightened state of sensory awareness and a sense of tranquillity. Within minutes of entering a green space, your body relaxes, blood pressure stabilizes, stress hormones decrease, muscle tension decreases, and health benefits kick in.
Spotify Podcast Time
Some amazing benefits of Shinrin-yoku
1. Creating Kung Fu Fighting Killer Cells
OK, so your body doesn’t actually do martial arts, but it does have natural killer, or NK, cells that are just as awesome. These NK cells selectively seek out and destroy cancer cells and bacterial infections in the body. They’re also smart enough to target a viral infection inside of one of your cells, without destroying the entire cell. Not only does forest bathing enhance NK cell activity, but it also increases their number, and for a significant length of time
2. Decreased Risk of Heart Attack
Multiple forest bathing studies have demonstrated its ability to significantly reduce blood pressure, stress levels and pulse rate. A trip through the forest will also increase your body’s adiponectin levels. (adiponectin a protein hormone that regulates the metabolism of lipids and glucose) These have an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessel cells and have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack.
3. Protection Against Obesity and Diabetes
Increased adiponectin is also inversely related to obesity and insulin resistance. The substance is secreted by fat cells and regulates our fat metabolism, glucose levels and weight gain. Forest bathing reduces blood glucose levels, even in diabetics.
4. More Energy and Better Sleep
Many of us notice the revitalized feeling we get from taking a deep breath in a natural location. It’s not just your imagination — forest bathing has been shown to increase vitality and fight fatigue. It’s also been shown to reduce dopamine and cortisol levels, meaning it reduces stress and calms the body and mind.
5. Mood-Boosting Effects
A small study of 19 men showed that anxiety, depression and confusion levels were improved after a forest bathing trip. They compared the forest walking group to one walking through an urban area. Even though both groups had the health benefits of exercise, the forest bathing group clearly won out. 6. Decreased Inflammation
Forest air is noticeably fresher than city air, or even other nature environments, since the trees are busy converting CO2 into fresh oxygen for our lungs. The D-limonene found in forest air reduces lung inflammation. Those with breathing problems like asthma have shown improvement after forest bathing as oxygen is increased and inflammation is lessened.
7. Clearer, More Comfortable Skin
Inflammation is the cause of many issues in the body, including certain skin disorders. Those with eczema and psoriasis can see benefits after forest bathing. Terpenes are some of the main anti-inflammatory components expressed by trees into the forest air and are mainly found in conifers like cypress, fir and pine trees.
8. Soothing Relief for Sore Muscles
There are over 40,000 known terpene structures and they have a wide variety of positive effects on the body. Osteoarthritis relief, reduced joint pain and inflammation, and decreased neck and back pain are just some of the proven benefits.
9. Anti-inflammatory Terpenes
Different terpenes have also proven to be effective against inflammation in the brain, liver and pancreas to keep these vital organs healthy. Borneol is a terpene strongly found in cannabis, and it also naturally occurs when we are in the forest smelling nature. The terpene borneol protects the brain and nervous system and may help protect against degenerative brain diseases that stem from inflammation, like Alzheimer’s.
10. Last but not least forest bathing can reverse ageing
By this I mean if you are in balance and all the other benefits are met. Forest bathing can literally pause and reverse ageing. And we all want this – we all want beautiful wrinkle free glowing skin. If you are unable to physically get yourself into a forest there are multiple podcasts that offer the same experience through sound – so nature sounds etc. close your eyes and imagine you are in a forest and the benefits are just as healing on the body mind and soul.
My favourite place on this whole planet to Forest Bath is in the remote Kologha Forest in Stutterheim, in the Eastern Cape. When I need a break I hop on a flight to East London and make my way 80km's inland, to the foot of the Amathola Mountains.
I always stay at Eagles Ridge Country House which is less than 500m from a dense magical indigenous forest. Eagles Ridge offers a variety of packages for Forest Bathing or if you just need a break.
I have partnered with Eagles Ridge and they are offering a weekend special package which includes pure chilling, bliss and forest bathing.
Use the promocode "TheBeautyPass" Special valid till August 31 2022.
To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp on +27 82 774 8770
Terms & Conditons Apply.
If you are unable to take a break and forest bathe, here are some other options to try.