“...indistinctness is my forte...”
J. M. W. Turner
Reading about Shinrin-yoku, more commonly known in the Western World as Forest Bathing.
Most of us, who spend time in forests know the personal and spiritual benefits of being there. More recently in Japan and South Korea researchers have been studying the effects of time in forests on humans.
It can reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure, among other benefits.
The scientifically-proven benefits of Forest Bathing include:
- Increased immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer cells.
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
- Increased ability to focus, including children with ADHD
- Faster recovery from surgery or illness
- Improvement in energy levels
- Deeper sleeps
So if we do it regularly we get:
- More intuitions
- Increased energy flow
- Clearer communication with the land and animals
- Deeper Eros
- Stronger friendships
- Increasing happiness
The question then really is how.
Find a beautiful quiet forest. Secluded is good. Green and full of oxygen is good too.
Walk and move very slowly through it. This is not a bushwalk. Not a run or a jog.
Sit for 20-40 minutes taking it in.
Listen to the sounds.
Smell the smells.
Connect with the trees. Touch them, if it’s safe to do so.
Feel the soil, the earth.
Look and see. Find connection.
Slow down. Move slowly.
Put your camera and drawing pad down for the first hour.
Return regularly to your forest so that your connections with it deepen.
Notice small things.
Use your sense of taste (Personally I am hesitant to recommed that unless you know which plants are safe to eat)
Apparently I need to do a course and become qualified to run these. Makes me smile. A diploma in outdoor guiding with a major in bushwalking might cover me for safety, or the forty years I have been doing exactly this. It’s new.
We just intuitively knew that it’s good for us. Luckily the research is catching up.
Western Tiers. Tasmania. Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019