Shinrin-yoku means forest baths

Shinrin-yoku means forest baths

Do you want to improve your health? Go to the forest!

In 1982 in Japan was launched a national health prevention program called „Shinrin-yoku”. Shinrin-yoku means spending more time among the trees. It’s not about jogging or training in the forests, but just quiet contemplation and mindfulness in being among the trees. It has been scientifically proven that Japanese “forest baths” have a great impact on improvement of health. Japanese scientists have been studying the physical and psychological effects of the “forest bathing”. They have discovered that the essence of the good effect is not only fresh air. Research has shown that the forest calms our heart, lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormone (cortisol).
“Forest baths” soothe depression and significantly increase energy level. Some of the residents of cities in Japan sign up for special clubs, to perform together “forest bathing”. Forests are blessing for children living in cities and for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of civilization at any moment.

Studies conducted in 24 forests in Japan have shown that cortisol levels of people walking in the forests were 16% lower than those who were walking in the cities at the same time. The blood pressure of the tested subjects was reduced after 15 minutes of walking in the forests. The 40% increase of activity of white blood cells (called Natural Killers, which fight cancer and viruses) was noticed at the same time.

The scientifically proven Shinrin-yoku benefit

  • improvement in functions of immune system, with an increased number of white blood cells
  • reduction of blood pressure
  • reduction of stress (reduced levels of cortisol)
  • improvement of mood
  • increase of concentration (even in children with ADHD)
  • faster recovery after surgery or illness
  • increase of energy level
  • improvement of sleep

How to practice Shinrin-yoku?

  • Step 1 – Leave your phone, camera, and other distracting devices at home so that you can be fully present
  • Step 2 – Leave your goals and expectations behind you and go without any special aim, allowing your body to take you wherever it wants
  • Step 3 – Stop from time to time to look at the leaves or the sensations of your feet
  • Step 4 – Find a comfortable place to sit and listen to the sounds around you
  • Step 5 – If you do not walk alone, set up with your companions a rule that you will not talk until the end of the walk

Happy Shinrin-yoku!

Iza Strzelecka

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