Forest bathing. Are the Japanese on to something?

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Forest bathing is the Japanese art of relaxing and getting in contact with nature. Could this amazing form of therapy be used in the West, too?

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing means taking silent and peaceful walks in the woods. It doesn’t require running, jogging, or doing any type of sport – it’s just a quiet time to meditate and appreciate nature. The Japanese have conducted research and the results are amazing! Apparently, regular walks in the forest result in lower blood pressure, less overall stress, and a more relaxed and peaceful mindset. Walking in the woods boasts the immune system as well. The aromatic oils in the trees work as a barrier between our bodies and bacteria and harmful microbes.

How to benefit from forest bathing?

Try just taking a walk in the woods. If you need to experience the full therapeutic effects of forest bathing, try to expel all your worries from your mind. Just walk slowly and be mindful – observe the trees, the undergrowth, the path and how it winds, listen for birdsong and animal sounds. Try to feel the place.

To get the full benefits of forest bathing, you should walk in the woods at least once a week but more often is even better. Have your phone with you but you can turn it off if you don’t want to be bothered.  Breathe deeply and enjoy the quite – bathe in the forest air. There is no other therapy that could give you so many benefits when you invest so little – just your time and attention.

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