Shinrin-yoku translates to "taking in the atmosphere of the forest", also known as forest bathing. This was developed by the Japanese government in the 1980s and has grown to be a pillar of preventative care and therapeutic healing in medicine practices around the world. Forest bathing is part of a long, rich, transcultural tradition of people connecting with nature; shinrin-yoku as an expression is so widely used, though, because much of today’s research findings are based off of the studies conducted in Japan, who continue to be a scientific pioneer in the relationship between humankind and nature.

Forest bathing gives us the opportunity to deepen our bond to nature through a series of sensory opening activities. It's intentional immersion in a forest environment where we have the space to slow down to the rhythms of the natural world. Forest bathing is, quite simply, going to the woods and letting the healing benefits of nature wash over you. It encourages the joy and rejuvenation of feeling alive in the present moment. 

 

Benefits of forest bathing

  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep
  • Greater sense of wellbeing
  • Reduced stress
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Enhanced immune functioning
  • Increased creative ability
  • Increased cognitive ability

 

Although forest bathing has been around for decades, there has been a significant spotlight on this practice in recent years as it becomes more widely known and studied. From the outer fringes of alternative healthcare to a major touchstone of preventative care, forest bathing has become a highly sought after approach to wellness. This trend towards nature reconnection has been underscored by the press, who explore forest bathing in a steady stream of published articles such as these:

 

'Forest Bathing': How Microdosing on Nature Can Help With Stress, The Atlantic

Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And MoodNPR

 

If you would like to learn more, please visit The Forest Library. This is a sister site created by Hana Lee Goldin which further explores forest bathing and nature therapy through a curated selection of resources.

The Sacred Wilds introduces you to forest bathing with a leisurely, gentle walk in a woodland setting, led by a trained forest therapy professional. You will be invited to guided activities and meditations that will open your senses, nurture your wellbeing, and awaken your sense of wonder.  Reserve your space in a public walk by checking out the calendar, or contact Hana Lee Goldin to coordinate private individual or group sessions.