The Practice of Shinrin-Yoku
By Christina Hughey
Shinrin-yoku otherwise known as forest-bathing (meaning to bathe the mind, you don’t need your swimsuit!), was developed in Japan during the 1980’s. Shinrin-yoku is an activity where you walk slowly in a natural outdoor setting (you may even meditate), in return you will gain many health benefits. It’s all about connecting with nature and having zero distractions while doing so.
To try shinrin-yoku, you must simply walk in a natural landscape, you’ll want to minimize your distractions (such as a phone or talking), take your time and wander slowly (pausing to observe a flower or a unique texture), and the most important step is to put forth no effort. The whole point is to relax, you aren’t trying to accomplish anything here. Typically, you walk about a mile or two within a period of a couple hours.
There are many benefits. The most interesting benefit to me is that forest bathing helps to improve the activity of natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that helps to fight off cancer. Other benefits included stress relief, boosting the immune system, and blood pressure lowering. Shinrin-yoku is also wonderful because it’s convenient for everyone (there are many options of outdoor spaces and Shinrin-yoku can be done in any weather), give it a try and experience all the benefits!