The healing power of forest bathing

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Here’s one writer’s explanation of forest bathing, from The Atlantic:

In 1982, Japan made shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” a part of its national health program. The aim was to briefly reconnect people with nature in the simplest way possible. Go to the woods, breathe deeply, be at peace. Forest bathing was Japan’s medically sanctioned method of unplugging before there were smartphones to unplug from. Since shinrin-yoku’s inception, researchers have spent millions of dollars testing its efficacy; the documented benefits to one’s health thus far include lowered blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and stress hormones.

I start to feel very ill at ease when I haven’t spent time in nature and in silence there; after two tedious months of physical therapy aimed at loosening and strengthening my arthritic right knee, each session consuming two hours, I was sick to death of only relating to machines and being stuck indoors.

On our trip to Montreal we continued north to Mont Tremblant and spent two days enjoying what was left of the autumn leaf colors and stunningly warm weather.

The area is full of walking and cycling trails so we took one through the woods down to the Diable River where we sat on the rocks and listened to the rushing river. The woods were largely silent except for one nearby blue jay.

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I loved the lush moss, peeling birch trees, sun-dappled leaves and ancient stones.

I loved the soothing sound of the river rushing over and around rocks.

I loved watching leaves tumble into the water, only to be swept under and away like little yellow boats.

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The day before, I ventured to the edge of the hotel property and found a grove of trees whose thick, twisted, intertwined roots looked like nothing I’d ever seen before anywhere, like something out of a fairy tale.

I sat on them for a while, just being still and present, watching the sun glow lower and lower through the trees. The woods were silent — no chipmunks or squirrels rustling past, no birds squawking to one one another.

It was eerie and disorienting.

 

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But so, so good to be out, once more in nature, as always reminded that humans are just one more species.

Here’s a link to a blogger who lives on a farm in western Australia, offering beautiful images of its flowers, birds and landscapes…

 

 

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Are you a forest bather?

Where do you go to savor nature?

15 thoughts on “The healing power of forest bathing

  1. oh, this looks absolutely heavenly – yes, i agree about forest bathing. i have been going to many parks over the last few months and it has been a beautiful experience in many ways –

  2. I love the description you’ve written here of what it’s like to sit quietly observing nature… I too enjoy the restorative nature of forest bathing – I feel most alive out in the natural world taking it all in… There’s so much beauty. Thank you also for sharing a link to my blog. You may notice we’re no longer in New Zealand – and for the time being are in Western Australia. We roll with the wind like tumbleweeds.

  3. A few weeks ago (was it only a few weeks ago!?) I went to Eastern Long Island to forest bathe, yes Eastern LI, home to the tony Hamptons. But there are nearly a dozen nature preserves within a short drive.
    If you get a chance you might be interested in my two favorites: Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island and Elizabeth Morton Preserve near Sag Harbor. The topography is very flat, which might be a good solution for your knee. Both have varied habitats, from grasslands to ponds to pine forests. It was so unexpected!

  4. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Tuesday links | A Bit More Detail

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