Last updated May 5, 2021
When someone mentions forest bathing, what comes to mind? Running out into the woods, stripping off your clothes, and diving in a pile of leaves?
Despite what the term seemingly implies, forest bathing doesn’t require any form of “submersion.” But as a new form of wellness, forest bathing does promote “immersion.”
By immersing ourselves in nature for a period of time, a number of health benefits can be realized. And this is the reason nature wellness escapes are becoming increasingly popular.
In essence, forest bathing is a type of wellness activity where one immerses themselves in natural surroundings.
The activity encourages a person to slow down, be mindful of their surroundings, and disconnect from technology.
At the same time, individuals are guided in using all five of their senses to explore the natural environment.
In many cases, some choose to explore such settings barefoot in an effort to further “ground” themselves in nature.
Of course, forest bathing usually takes place in woods, forests, and other natural settings. But this form of wellness can also be enjoyed in arboretums and other indoor natural environments.
Origins of Forest Bathing and its Realized Benefits
Believe it or not, forest bathing has been around for nearly four decades. Nature wellness began in Japan in 1982 under the name “Shinrin-yoku.”
As Japan recognized rising suicide rates, technology dependence, and social isolation, they explored preventative health measures.
As it turns out, forest bathing is able to address many of these issues and more. In addition to offering holistic health advantages, this type of wellness is easy to access.
For Japan, roughly 70 percent of the country has green space and woods. Thus, the pursuit of forest bathing was readily adopted as a new lifestyle by many.
The concept of nature wellness is not only supported by subjective experiences. Research has backed up the numerous claims linking forest bathing to better health. For one, it has been shown to reduce stress and stress hormone levels.
This has noted benefits on blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and cardiovascular wellness. Likewise, nature wellness boosts immune function and white blood cells, and it has been shown to speed up healing.
Most recently, forest bathing is being explored in relation to Attention Deficit Disorder management.
Enjoy Your Own Experience
Opportunities to explore nature wellness are rather abundant. The bigger challenge is making the time to incorporate this into your lifestyle.
Disconnecting from technology and escaping into nature can be difficult in today’s climate of pressured demands.
As a result, many choose to explore forest bathing and natural wellness as part of their wellness travel. From day walks in Tuscany, to mountain hikes, outdoor cycling, and more, a variety of wellness travel options exist.
Once you return, the benefits gained will motivate you to keep nature immersion part of your routine. Whether you choose it at home or abroad, it is likely you will enjoy this new type of nature wellness.