What Is Forest Bathing: Connect with Nature to Relax

I’ve never been much of a nature person. Growing up in Singapore, I’m used to and love the urban (concrete) jungle. Ha! It’s not until I met a guy who loved long forest walks that I started to understand and really “get” the immense benefits of “forest bathing” on the soul. It’s also such a great bonding experience between two people. <3

“Forest bathing” or shinrin yoku, is a Japanese concept of ‘forest therapy’... where it’s the medicine of simply being in, and soaking up the atmosphere of being in the forest. It’s such a widely held view in Japan that they’ve even commercialised this into “forest bathing” shampoos and bath products (of course!)

What is forest bathing? Connect with nature to relax

Benefits of Forest Bathing

The many researched benefits of forest therapy can be found in a few papers here, here and here (with many more available online), but essentially the benefits of forest bathing are:

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells.

  • Reduced blood pressure.

  • Reduced stress.

  • Improved mood.

  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.

  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness.

  • Increased energy levels.

  • Improved sleep.

There are such phenomenal health benefits to spending just a few hours in the forest!

Mindful Forest Bathing

Of course, you could simply take a walk through the woods which has its pros, or you could take it one step further and take a mindful walk through the woods… Taking the time to appreciate the patterns in the tree bark, the varied colours of the moss and lichen, or even tuning into the sounds of the birds and other animals in the forest.

Ideally you’d leave your phone and camera at home too… but I’m not that enlightened yet (!) and love taking photos and videos of the beauty of the woods. Plus, as I’m completely lousy with directions, I definitely need Google Maps to help guide me back!

Here around Amsterdam, we’ve also got forests surrounded by dunes, which adds to the variety of nature to enjoy.

Hiking Apps

Because we’re living in the time of tech, I can’t help but use it to make my life in nature easier. Hahaha. You see, I try people, I try… but I’m not quite there yet. 

If you’re similar, you might like to use some of these apps to help map out your hikes anywhere you are in the world - according to distance, altitude, difficulty level.

I’m not the hiker but my guy is - he swears by the Wikiloc app that you can use wherever you are in the world. 

Also check out this review of the best hiking apps you can use on iOS or Android.

Of course - batteries die, so always remember to bring that topographical map along with you too! ...I can’t read those maps, so just stick to the regular signposted paths.  

Check out where the nearest forest is to where you’re at, and try some forest bathing this weekend? 

Learn More Like This!

Enjoyed this tip? I’ll be sharing more tips like this and also creating some frameworks and worksheets for you at our upcoming one-day retreat in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Together, we can help you work out your very own blueprint for how your diet can work to bring more balance to your busy life. 

Connecting with nature, and ultimately with yourself is one small part to the bigger equation - we’ll also be covering what kinds of diet and nutrition, movement/ fitness activities work better for a busy life and why, and Eleni Meraki will be taking you through the emotional and mental mindset techniques that can help you stay connected and balanced in your everyday life.

Come join us, click on the pic below to pre-register for the event in early 2020!