It sometimes feels like with every passing year I get busier and busier. I’m not complaining, I love my job, but finding time out for myself can be tricky, so I’m always looking for ways to ensure that any time off I do get is spent resting and recuperating. Which is why I’m always interested to hear about the latest wellness trends, in case they can be incorporated into my own self-care routines. The latest trend growing in popularity in the US and the UK is ‘forest bathing’.
What is forest bathing?
It sounds like that involves swimming, or at least some kind of water in a forest setting, but in fact the activity originated in Japan around 30 years ago. Known as shinrin-yoku, the art of forest bathing, or nature bathing, is in fact as simple as going into nature and taking it all in. Smelling the smells, touching your surroundings, immersing yourself in nature. It’s like your average forest walk, but with a side-helping of meditation for a more ‘present’ experience.
Why do it?
Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, first became popular after research linked the practice with measurable health benefits. Forest were found to promote lower concentrations of cortisol (related to stress), lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure. It has even been linked with lower levels of depression. And if this isn’t enough to convince you, the hike to your chosen location is sure to be a good workout, so that’s always a good thing, no?
You can join a local forest bathing club in the USA, or even start your own by visiting https://www.forestbathing.club/. For more information about forest bathing in the UK you can visit http://www.shinrinyoku.co.uk/ or check out the National Trust’s round-up of the 10 best places in the UK to go forest bathing https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/top-10-places-for-forest-bathing .
Alternatively, you could just use your next day off and head out into your nearest wood or forest and take a moment to pause. It sounds like Teddy Rowe’s kind of wellness trend, too, so I’ll take him with me and see if he comes back feeling any more tranquil…