What Exactly IS ... Forest Bathing?

Developed in Japan in the 80's, Shinrin-Yoku is the healing practice of "taking in the forest atmosphere," or "forest bathing" and has become a significant component of healing in modern Japanese medicine.

The idea is if a person visits a natural area and experiences it in a relaxed manner, there are calming, rejuvenating, restorative benefits. 

This extends beyond just the woods, many experience this going to the beach, laying in the sand, feeling the sun on the skin and hearing the waves lapping the shore. Or being in a desert, in the natural quiet, taking in the sound of the wind, the visual of the dunes or rockscapes and enjoying the solitude with friends and/or family.

Many have experienced and known these benefits intuitively but recent studies have validated the healing properties of spending time in natural areas. According to the website Shinrin-Yoku.Org these include:

  • 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 level
  • Improved sleep

Just as impressive are the results that we are experiencing as we make this part of our regular practice:

  • Deeper and clearer intuition
  • Increased flow of energy
  • Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
  • Increased flow of eros/life force
  • Deepening of friendships
  • Overall increase in sense of happiness

REI's blog has an interesting post where the writer experienced a VERY Japanese iteration. So get out there with family and friends and get healthier!

Recommended Gear

Whether you're taking in the natural wonders of the forest, beach or desert, our BrellaPack, a feature-laden backpack with a high-tech integrated umbrella (available in Outdoor or Student/Business series), will help carry your essentials while protecting you from the hazards of pop-up showers or excessive sun.

And keep your provisions and refreshments fresh with our Premium Rugged Coolers (available in 25, 40, and 75 quart sizes).