Work, relationships, finances, noise pollution, parenting, social media, loneliness are common reasons for people taking timeout for forest therapy. Guests tell us that spending time under the canopy of trees doing gentle yoga stretches and lying on the ground is when they notice a shift within themselves, that connecting with the earth like this is a profound, nurturing experience. Many say that memories of their childhood such as climbing and playing in the trees, lying on their backs watching the leaves fall and the clouds float overhead come to mind. By getting back into nature they find stability within themselves.
The impact of the Covid Pandemic, without doubt, has awakened greater insight into the need to be physically, and mentally healthy and conscious. It has brought fresh focus on a holistic approach. For many years Shinrin Yoku has been prescribed in Japan for managing stress-state and technostress. Stress can be a positive force when you need to perform well on a critical task, but experiencing stress over a prolonged period can lead to serious health issues on a deep cellular level.
I think we should all spend time in a forest. Especially when the world crowds in on us and the pressure of living in our fast-paced achievement driven world becomes too hard to bear.
In fact, we could all benefit from a session of Shinrin Yoku, (Forest Bathing) the Japanese inspired stress cure that is firing the imaginations of people globally.
And while living in the trees is taking the concept to an extreme, this is exactly what an octogenarian from India did after what was described in reports as a “tiff” with his wife.
In answer to questions people always ask, I am happy to confirm that you do keep your clothes on during a Shinrin Yoku ( Forest Bathing) experience.
And, fully clothed, you will emerge from the practice divested for a while of the anxieties, stresses and pressures of daily life as you absorb the benefits gained from slowing down, breathing fresh air
Forest Bathing, or forest therapy, is the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life and lifestyle chronic illnesses. Connecting with nature through the five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch restores our creativity and sense of wonderment – the essence of life. Trees appear to have special powers when you rest your back against the solid trunk and breathe easy. Breathe and let go of time, breathe and let go of old patterns and themes that no longer serve you. Experience how mother earth nourishes and energises you.
Forest bathing shouldn’t, despite its name, actually involve getting wet. But while the weather in Japan, where the practice originated, is more reliably warm, the same can’t be said for Britain. At least not in early spring. ‘I’ve never done this in the rain before’, says David Read, my guide. A crash course in forest bathing follows. So is it a gimmick, a fancy name for taking a walk in the woods? Or is Shinrin-Yoku, as it’s known in Japanese, worthy of all the fuss?