In case you haven’t heard, the Japanese habit of forest bathing—which has been shown to lower stress levels and strengthen the immune system—is all the rage. For the uninitiated, it basically consists of taking a solitary walk through the woods in order to “bathe” in all the glory of nature. Here’s everything you need to know in order to give it a go yourself.
Forest Bathing Is the Easiest New Wellness Trend
First, Get The Name Right
It’s called shinrin-yoku, which translates as “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” The Japanese forest ministry coined the phrase back in 1982 when it became part of the national public health program.
Second, It's Done Fully Clothed
You don’t disrobe or even get wet. Basically you’re just walking through a gorgeous, serene natural space and taking in Mother Nature. Think of it like a walking meditation, if you will.
Try Not To Break A Sweat
Choose your route based on your physical ability, and take it easy: No more than three miles or a four-hour hike. And remember that forest bathing is about the journey, not getting to a destination (so plan accordingly).
Take It Easy
Sitting down, quietly reflecting and reading are all encouraged. As you rest, try and focus on using all of your senses to observe what's going on around you.
That way, you inhale essential oils from trees, stimulating your body’s immune-boosting abilities. So go ahead, stop and smell the roses leaves.
Thanks to your newfound hobby, take solace in lowered cortisol concentrations as well as lowered pulse and blood pressure readings. In other words: feel amazing.
Additional Reporting by Alexia Dellner