Ever heard of Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing? What is it and why are more and more people around the world starting to practice it?
The term Shinrin Yoku is a Japanese practice which translates in English to ‘Forest Bathing’. There is no single practice that is officially Shinrin Yoku but it is more of an effect that follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the forest or indeed bathing in nature.
Numerous scientific studies now describe the benefits of spending time in nature including:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Reduced cortisol levels
- Increased counts of natural killer cells
- Improved perception of vigour
- Reduced stress levels.
The scientific findings are unsurprising when we consider that we have evolved along with the plants and animals to co-inhabit our planet. Our bodies are adapted to breathe the air emitted by healthy natural environments. Our DNA still recognises the natural environments and wild areas as home, and home is a place of healing.
In addition spending time in nature also helps connect us more deeply and improve our understanding of the workings of the natural environment. As Sir David Attenborough said:
‘No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.’
And a Forest Bathing leader Amos Clifford goes on to say:
‘All of our efforts to become an environmentally sustainable species must be rooted in deep relationship with nature. Without this relationship, all our efforts towards sustainability will be subtly flawed in ways that will eventually be our undoing.’
As we spend time in nature we start to see that none of us exists independently but are instead profoundly interdependent with all things. I believe that helping people find a deeper connection with nature is critically important because our understanding and relationship is vital both for the health and wellbeing of the planet but also for the health and wellbeing of ourselves.
Denmark Farm and Hartley Preserve are excited to offer a series of four Nature Bathing sessions that follow the seasons through 2018. This is the exciting opportunity to develop the practice of nature bathing for yourself in the beautiful setting of Denmark Farm. The sessions will be taught in a way that will allow you to develop a series of practices that you can incorporate into your own life to bring you the benefits of nature bathing that can be taken away.
Many thanks to Jacqueline Hartley for writing this article.
Denmark Farm offers many opportunities to connect with and bath in nature. Have a browse of our extensive events programme for 2018 and if you’re living further away why not book a stay at our Eco Campsite, Yurt or Eco Lodge?