A couple of Summers ago, I was so fortunate to partake in my first and only official Forest Bathing experience here at Spring Bird. Even though I spend a good deal of time having magical experiences in the woods, the Forest Bathing experience was so much more than I had expected because it is a practice of slowing down and connecting with the woods through using our senses. There is intention behind your walk through the woods, but there is also a great deal of intuition employed in letting yourself wander -- allowing yourself to be led by your intuition.
As Dr. Qing Li writes about in his book Forest Bathing, our Forest Bathing guide, Kimberly Ruffin, helped us to engage all of our senses while we developed our relationship with the natural world. It was euphoric for me despite the high humidity and insect swarms that we had to contend with (it was July).
So, I just finished reading Dr. Li’s book about Forest Bathing, in which he outlines the cultural and spiritual foundations for Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing), the scientific underpinning that supports it as a medicine, how to practice Forest Bathing, and how to bring Forest Bathing into home and office environments.
This was a quick and enjoyable read for anyone wanting to grasp the scope of Forest Bathing and the science behind it. If you are not up for reading it, I will be sharing much content from the book in upcoming posts. I am really excited by this practice and can’t wait to share more about how Forest Bathing can be healing for us as well as a means for strengthening our relationship with nature, but for now just focus on smelling the trees -- especially evergreens.
Trees release phytoncides that will do a whole lot of good for you like improving your immune system, decreasing stress hormones, helping you to sleep better, decrease tension and anxiety, make you feel better, decrease blood pressure, increase your heart rate variability, and suppress your sympathetic nervous activity while increasing your parasympathetic nervous activity. I mean, go take a walk in the woods and smell it -- really smell it -- you will feel better! Then, go read this book to learn so much more!!!!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.