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Nature Therapy

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

How much time do you spend in nature? Are you aware that the intense energies of city life, plazas and shopping malls can create weight in our souls as well as in our bodies. Although many new methods and perspectives have been developed in order to have a balanced soul/body state from these energies, traditional and easy-to-apply methods such as meditation always remain attractive. Let's go to our deepest roots and examine the ways of healing by integrating with nature.

A deep forest with sunbeams
Image Credit: Unknown

For centuries the sounds of the forest, the smell of the trees, the sunlight playing on the leaves, the clean, fresh air - these give us a feeling of comfort. It relieves our stress and anxiety, helps us relax and think more clearly. Being in nature can improve our mood, restore our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us. Shinrin-Yoku, meaning forest bath, means soaking up the forest atmosphere during a quiet walk. It is a therapy that was developed in Japan in the 1980s and has become the cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have studied the health benefits of spending time among trees, revealing that forest bathing produces calming neuro-psychological effects through changes in the nervous system, reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and boosts immunity. All studies so far have shown reductions in stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and insomnia among participants. After just 15 minutes of forest bathing, blood pressure drops, stress levels decrease, and concentration and mental clarity improve. There are currently 44 accredited Shinrin-Yoku forests in Japan, and research is helping to establish Shinrin-Yoku and forest therapy worldwide.

broad trunked tree
Image Credit: Unknown

If you think everything is too good to be true, why not try it yourself? There is no forest or woodland nearby, you can also do Shinrin-Yoku in the park. Just follow this short guide... Step 1 – Leave your phone, camera or other distractions behind so you can be fully involved in the experience. Step 2 – Leave your goals and expectations behind. Wander aimlessly, let your body take you where it wants to go. Step 3 – Pause from time to time to take a closer look at a leaf or notice the feeling of the road under your feet. Step 4 – Find a comfortable place to sit and listen to the sounds around you. See how the behavior of birds and other animals change as they get used to your presence. Step 5 – If you're going with others, make a pact not to talk until the end of the walk, where you can get together to share your experiences. But taking a bath in the forest without a guide is just as easy. And there are many different activities you can do in the forest that will help you relax and connect with nature. Try techniques such as walking in the forest, yoga, eating in the forest, spa therapy, T'ai chi, meditation, breathing exercises, aromatherapy whether you need sports or not.





  3. FOREST BATHING: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li, published on April 17, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Qing Li, 2018.


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