Forest Bathing – One of the popular wellness trends has its origin traced back to the 1980’s in Japan. The term comes from the mental exercise by the name ‘shinrin-yoku‘ (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). The objective behind the concept was to persuade more individuals to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. That too in a natural habitat of Forests. In this therapy, the individuals got a remedy of increased tech burnout. They also reconnected with the country’s flora.
The Japanese gave the term ‘shinrin-yoku’ as a form of eco-friendly mental relaxation technique. However, the contribution of the Forests towards wellness has been a part of Indian Vedic Texts. Plants have been an integral part of the Hindu way of life. Some plants are sacred, while some are deities. Somras, a mysterious drink, is a mark to please Lord Indra. Other vedas like Atharva Veda mentions the extract of Cannabis offered to Shiva and Balram in festivals. Notably, we always had the culture of considering the nature as sacred and pure.
Aranyani or Vana Devi is still revered in the rural India. Undoubtedly, it establishes a close connection with the rural India. Trees were an integral part of Buddhist and Jain Culture too. Budha attained wisdom under a Pipal tree and Mahavir under a Sal tree. Vatara Tree association with Krishna is also very remarkable.
Forest Bathing- Benefits
Forest bathing was quickly adopted as a form of ecotherapy. Since long, it was in our culture that time spending in nature is healing. Here are the many benefits that Forest Bathing can provide you.
Lowering of Stress, Anger and Anxiety:
Spending time amongst the forest leads to a calming effect. This results into the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. Also spending time in the forests stimulates one’s cardiac, metabolic and overall health.
Another benefit of the forest bathing is relaxation of mind. The serenity of the forests and the greenery creates a happier vibe and an elevated mind. Research studies have shown that nature has a positive effect on human health.
Research studies conducted by Ye Wen, Qi Yan, Yangliu Pan, Xinren Gu and Yuangiu Liu in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine aimed at the relation of Forest Bathing with the sleeping pattern. It was revealed that participants who walked in the forest were found to be less anxious and slept better and longer.
Level of Oxygen:
The plants are considered to be reservoirs of oxygen as they consume carbon dioxide and emit the fresh oxygen. Spending time in the forest elevates the oxygen levels. Natural Oils or Phytoncides are defence chemicals. It comes against pathogens. These chemicals are good to reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rate.
How to reap the Forest Bathing benefits?
There is no need for an individual to travel to the Forests to reap the fOREST Bathing benefits. Any green area, even the proximity of your garden is just fine. In the event the house doesn’t have one, one can reach out to a park for these benefits. Coniferous trees are ideal choice.
Engage all your senses:
In order to reap Forest Bathing benefits, let nature imbibe in your body through the 6 senses: ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet,” which is listen, smell, touch, and look.
Slow your pace:
In order to imbibe the essence of nature, it is essential that one walks slow. Walking slowly enables the individuals to reap the positive effects after every 20 minutes. Slow walking is recommended for beginners. And it’s good to spend as much time as possible.
Supplementing with activities:
Interacting with nature for as long as possible, can result in more results. One can add certain beneficial activities. Writing a poem, closing eyes in meditation, sometimes elders perform laughter therapy are some of the activities, for instance. These are enough to fill your heart with happiness.
Appreciate the silence:
As more and more people are migrating to cities, noise pollution is a daily routine. There is no blessing better than to be in an area devoid of any chaos. Forest bathing lets one be in the company of pure nature and the only sounds you hear are rustling of trees. Sometimes, sound of a Peacock or any animal species. One of the forest bathing benefits is an ambience abundant in silence. Anyone in such a situation can be a witness to this rejuvenation phenomenon. The heart rate slows down as you feel an eternal bliss.
Anyone who has experienced Forest bathing cannot ignore its benefits. Besides the above listed benefits, the forest is a source of essential oils. Although clean air and a serene environment are a blessing. The sounds of birds and animals bring out the essence of Forest bathing benefits-Therapeutic value. Without doubt, the forests can cause the healing of our bodies. Forest bathing in all aspects is a cherishable experience that aids to open the senses to the surroundings.