What’s it about?
Forest Bathing (2018) is a Japanese forest bathing practice guide, exploring the beliefs, culture, and traditions behind forest bathing, various studies on its health benefits, and detailed steps to practice forest bathing in any environment.
About the author:
Dr. Li Qing is an immunologist and a leading expert in forest medicine, a founding member of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, and the Vice President and Secretary-General of the International Society of Forest and Natural Medicine. He was visiting scholar at Stanford University, Tokyo Medical College, Japan.
What can I get? Discover the healing power of nature.
How do you estimate the time people spend indoors? Fifty percent? Seventy?
The correct answer is a staggering 90%! We spend more and more time at home and in the office—display for a long time.
All these are bad for our health. For example, in Japan, about 200 people die from work-related health problems every year. But it doesn’t have to be so. When we spend time in nature, the environment will improve stress, sleep quality, and even immunity. This book explains the science behind these beneficial effects and describes how to use them in our lives.
Forest bathing is a Japanese practice based on natural healing power.
Imagine: After a busy week of dating and family affairs, you desperately need something to refresh your spirit and energy. Holidays are ideal, but unfortunately, you do not have time or money. Take a walk in the nearest park. Something will tell you that it works.
That’s great! After observing trees, flowers, and various natural sounds, you will feel refreshed after about an hour.
You instinctively know that spending time outdoors is good for you. You may not know that Japan has a particular word to describe enjoying and healing nature. It is called forest bathing or shinrin-yoku in Japanese.
The term Shinringoku was coined in the early 1980s, Tomohide Akiyama, director of the Japan Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bureau. At that time, the Japanese began to practice forest bathing because they believed it was beneficial in nature. Looking at the hundreds of years of relationship between the Japanese and the forest, you can see that bathing in the forest developed there.
According to the author, Japan is a forest civilization, and its culture, religion, and philosophy are all related to forests. Initially, two-thirds of the country was covered by forest. Practitioners of the significant faiths Shinto and Zen regard forests as sacred places, and Japanese folklore tells of a tree-shaded god named Kodama. Japanese festivals and traditions are also related to nature. An example is Hanami during the Spring Flower Festival.
Despite the deep connection with nature, many Japanese today are cut off from the heart. A staggering 78% of the population lives in cities. This urbanization trend can not only be observed in Japan. The world is becoming more and more urbanized; it is estimated that by 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities.
Living in the city has certain advantages, but it also increases the pressure. More vigilance leads to a higher risk of diseases such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease. The good news is that forest baths are refreshing and reduce stress and increase happiness.
There is scientific evidence that forest bathing can promote health.
Think about how you deal with stress by breathing fresh air outdoors. Like many people who do this, he is likely to be guided by instinct. At that time and for many years after that, we did not fully explore the benefits of forest bathing.
But this situation changed in 2004 when the author established a forest therapy research group collaborating with Japanese government agencies and scientists. The team tried to understand the relationship between trees and human health and conducted the first forest bathing experiment in 2005. Since then, many studies have shown that bathing in the forest can improve mood and sleep quality and strengthen the immune system.
In a study, participants went to the forest to swim to understand the effect on sleep. Before the trip, participants slept an average of six and a half hours per night. Travel: The exact distance they travel on a typical day. Result: The average sleep time has been extended by more than an hour!
Participants also assessed their levels of stress, anger, anxiety, and depression before and after the exploration. After the trip, the results were significantly reduced, and the test even showed a drop in stress hormone levels.
Improving sleep and mood is undoubtedly a significant benefit, but the most critical finding of Waldbad’s research is that it can strengthen the immune system. And tumor cells. These effects last up to 30 days.
The main question now is: What is behind the positive effects of forest bathing?
The answer lies in the air: trees release natural oils, so-called phytoncides, to eliminate bacteria, fungi, and insects; after inhalation, phytoncides increase the activity and number of natural killer cells. , Reduce stress hormone levels and negative emotions such as fear, tension, and anger.
In addition to fungicides, forest air also contains Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria in the soil. Like fungicides, Mycobacterium vaccae can enhance immunity, but this is not all. A study by the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom found that exposure to these bacteria has the same effects as antidepressants-they make people happier!
Bathe in the forest, listen to nature, appreciate its beauty, and enjoy its fragrance.
Now that you know exactly how and why forest baths are good for your health, you may want to know how they benefit you.
The good news is that you don’t need a few acres of forest in your yard. You can swim wherever there are woods, from nature reserves to urban parks to gardens. The trick is to choose the most relaxing environment for you. If you like the sound of running water or the smell of damp soil, look for it.
When you find the ideal bathing place in the forest, you need to know what to do. The Japan Forest Therapy Center has trained guides, but you can also “swim in the forest” by yourself.
Forest bath allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and enjoy the silence of nature: the sound of nature without artificial noise. Think of the singing of birds or the wind. Natural silence not only allows your ears to rest; it also relaxes. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom have discovered that natural silence stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest.
To listen to the sounds of nature, try this simple exercise. Sit somewhere and focus on deep breathing. It can keep you awake and help you perceive the sounds around you. You can even close your eyes for awareness.
Speaking of eyes, another aspect of the bathroom in the woods is the natural colors and patterns. Green and blue are everywhere in nature, and these colors can reduce stress and anxiety. Nature is also full of relaxing patterns that repeat at different scales, such as petals, water waves, and snails. These patterns are called fractals. They reduced the stress by 60%! Therefore, when you bathe in the forest, pay attention to everything you see.
Observe nature and enjoy the pleasant aroma. Trees have a unique scent, as do the phytoncides in the forest air and Mycobacterium vaccae. Another smell you might notice is petrichor, an earthy rain smell. To make the most of this natural aromatherapy, try some yoga breathing exercises to help you inhale better.
Connect with nature by touching and enjoying.
Think about this scenario: you order something from the restaurant’s menu, and when your food arrives, it looks and smells great! You can see that much effort has been put into its introduction, and the fragrance is fantastic. Of course, to truly enjoy your food, you need to dig deeper and enjoy its texture and taste. What does
Have to do with Lin Chi? Well, to enjoy all the benefits of nature, this method is necessary. Listening, smelling, and seeing is not enough. You must be close and personal.
Touching while swimming in the forest allows you to physically connect with nature, creating a more intimate and enjoyable experience. Petals, leaves, and trunks.
Another way to understand nature through touch is to root yourself. You see, the earth’s electric charge is naturally deficient. By connecting with this electric charge, your body will receive healing and balancing electrons. , Or sanding barefoot for about 20 minutes a day. However, do not step on glass or surfaces treated with insecticides.
Now that you know how to touch nature, how about a try?
There is a lot of food in the forest; you need to know what to look for. For example, wild vegetables have been harvested from forests, grasslands, and swamps for centuries in Japan. These vegetables are not only nutritious but also contain the healing electrons of the earth. Before swimming in the woods, spend some time figuring out which plants, flowers, and bark are safe to eat. Many of them, such as evergreen conifers, are rich in vitamins and can make tea. Bach or spring, have a refreshing drink.
In addition to taste buds, bathing in the forest can also evoke surprise, excitement, and happiness. Canadian researchers have found that being in nature can improve people’s ability to experience these positive emotions. How do you feel when all your senses interact with natural elements.
When you bring the elements of nature into the room, you can swim in the forest at home and the office.
In an ideal world, you can swim in the woods for an hour or two at any time, but realistic work, family responsibilities, and public life will make it difficult for you to go to the forest or park on a whim.
But this does not mean that you should give up these advantages altogether. You can do many things to get close to nature and give it the power of healing and relaxation. You can’t enter the forest. Let the forest come to you.
Plants can indeed light up the room, but this is not the only reason to buy one or two potted plants. Plants can also improve air quality, so they are a great way to enjoy the fresh forest air in the comfort of your home or office. During the day, plants increase the oxygen content in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen—some plants like succulents and other plants. Orchids also release oxygen at night, making them an excellent supplement to your bedroom.
Plants also purify the air by absorbing toxins from paints, detergents, and cigarettes. Because they bring moisture into the air and increase moisture content, planting around them will reduce the chance of coughing, sore throat, and other breathing problems. It is instrumental in offices where air conditioners and heaters dry the air.
Another way to protect nature indoors is to use essential oils. Coniferous oils such as sequoia, pine, and cedar help create a forest atmosphere and contain these amazing phytoncides. Diffusers, candles, and bowls made of sawdust are an effective way to bring essential oils into your home or office.
Finally, if you are unable to concentrate or feel nervous and anxious at work, listening to the sounds of nature can be a good grounding tool. You have a variety of natural photos and playlists to choose from. You can use many grounding mats, tapes, and other products in your workplace for electronic recycling.
The connection with nature gives us a better chance to protect it.
The world’s forests have exciting statistics! Forests cover approximately 30% of the country, and 300 million people use forests as their homes. Another 1.6 billion people depend on forests for survival.
Consider a thought-provoking fact: the world loses more than 32 million acres of forest every year with these numbers in mind.
When the forest disappears, we will lose all the opportunities to make ourselves healthier and a vital resource. Therefore, protecting forests and nature is more important than ever. As it happens, forest bathing will encourage you to be more careful about nature.
By interacting with nature through all the senses when bathing in the forest, we begin to feel and appreciate all its beauty and benefits, which helps us establish a strong connection with nature, so we understand the importance of protecting it.
Many governments, companies, and institutions have realized this and have taken measures to develop mutually beneficial relations between man and nature. For example, in Japan, the birthplace of forest bathing, more than 60 places are dedicated to this practice. More than 150 park prescription programs encourage people to improve their health by spending time in nature.
Not only need to pay attention to wild forests, urban parks and forests are also important. The 2015 World Economic Forum will increase the green roof of urban space as a top priority. In terms of urban and road construction, many cities have found innovative ways to plant more trees and forests. For example, in Paris, France, a 19th-century railway was transformed into a park of nearly 5 kilometers.
There are other essential things for forest protection: connect children with nature. It is beneficial to their health and development, but research shows that children who spend time in nature will grow into adults who understand the importance of protection.
Many schools in Japan and around the world have begun to use parks and green spaces as classrooms. Such measures will help future generations to benefit from the advantages of forests.