Shinrin-Yoku (more commonly known as forest bathing) is slowly gaining momentum in the field of preventative care. Let’s not get confused, though. Forest bathing is not just about lying in a bathtub in the middle of a forest. That sounds quite interesting though but let’s save it for next time. You might have heard of this crazy-sounding wellness activity and wondered what it’s all about and where to experience it. Well, stay tuned as I unravel all these mysteries and more.
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing originates from Shinrin-Yoku – an old Japanese tradition that involves walking in nature to replenish your mind and body. The aim is to wind down the racing mind, especially in today’s technologically-dominated world. As technology becomes more invasive in our lives, it is essential to find new and holistic ways to improve our focus on what really matters.
This serene wellness activity is nothing but blissful. Imagine sitting in a forest and becoming one with mother nature! How soothing would it be to listen to her sweet sounds and breathe in the fresh air that only she can provide? By fully immersing yourself in nature, you avail yourself to a multitude of benefits for your mental, physical and spiritual health.
Benefits of Forest Bathing
The benefits that accompany forest bathing are astonishing for your overall health and well-being. As you peacefully stroll in nature, your body’s immunity is improved. This will allow it to fight unwanted infections as well as anxiety and depression as you consciously seek to take a breath and relax. Forest bathing helps regulate blood pressure which means overall good heart health! It also helps to relieve insomnia. It’s easier to get a good night’s sleep when your mind has been switched off for a long period of time.
We live in a world full of devices and skyscrapers. It’s easy to lose a sense of self and get swept up in the hustle and bustle of daily living. This is especially true for Kiwis (a nickname for people from New Zealand). They tend to spend 70% of their time indoors, glued to their screens. As a result, 1 in 4 of them experience some form of anxiety. Fortunately, engaging in forest bathing can decrease this number significantly. Forest bathing can also lower depression rates within the country and foster better holistic health. Then you get healthy, stress-free Kiwis! You know it’s true when it rhymes.
Forest Bathing in Whirinaki, New Zealand
Whirinaki is located in Northland New Zealand. The name means “to lean against a support”. How fitting for this article because leaning on nature for support can facilitate so much clarity and wellness.
Whirinaki Forest Footsteps aims to engage your 5 senses and connect you to nature while unlocking an ethereal state of calm and happiness. They believe their forest walks prove to show a greater drop in cortisol levels (or stress levels for you and me) in comparison to urban walks. It is believed that trees contain healing properties like phytoncides which are the natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees. These phytoncides have been noted to improve the activity of frontline immune defenders. Simply put, if you want to avoid the flu then it’s time to head to the forest.
Spending time in nature has also been proven to get all your creative juices flowing. It also sharpens the mind by giving it a break from technology and facilitating better problem-solving techniques. Not to mention the massive benefits of recharging your social battery, getting away from all the noise, and allowing you to come out of it at peace and ready to take on the world.
Forest baths can last up to 8 hours, depicting a perfect breakaway from the world. The tour also offers a ‘forest to fork’ picnic, meaning you will be getting nothing but the freshest ingredients in your meal. This tour definitely does nourish both the mind and the body.
If ever you’re in New Zealand, make sure you get this authentic Kiwi experience in order to maximize your time here. Heal yourself from the inside out with this authentic wellness experience. Your body will thank you for it in the long run. And if you’re ever looking for other captivating activities to do in New Zealand, why not try camping?
Psychology tip: Shirin-Yoku appears to have a positive impact on the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.