Forest bathing is becoming a favorite activity this spring, and it is an excellent way to #GetOutside and enjoy your natural surroundings. But what is forest bathing, how is it done and how can you take advantage of its wellness benefits?
First, forest bathing has nothing to do with water – or with bathing in its traditional sense. It is simply the act of connecting silently with nature and allowing the smells, sounds and feelings of your natural surroundings to “wash” over you. Forest bathing began to be widely-practiced and studied in Japan in the 1980’s, but the concept is not new and has been encouraged and valued by many communities over thousands of years. Similar to yoga and meditation, forest bathing has been shown to lower stress levels and lead to other positive health outcomes.
While there are popular worldwide destinations for forest bathing, it can be done anywhere quiet where the natural world is active. If you live in an urban area, a large park can do the trick – assuming you can avoid distractions. We find that vineyards can be a great place as well.
Here are a few tips that can help you get started on a practice of forest bathing:
- It is important that you have no distractions. This means leaving your cell phone, your watch and any other electronic devices with alerts at home
- Stay as silent as possible and focus only on the sounds, smells and feelings of nature
- Find a place that you find to be safe and peaceful, so you are comfortable throughout
- Join a guide or a forest bathing tour. A guide will offer prompts to help enhance your experience, much like a yoga instructor
- Bring your favorite bottle of wine and enjoy a relaxing, quiet glass in nature; there is no wrong way to enjoy your natural surroundings!