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What is Forest Bathing and how can it improve your life?

As humans, we crave rest, relaxation, and clarity to feel and perform at our best. But with so much going on at work, home, with your family and in our social circles, it can be so easy to get overworked, overtired, overstressed, and overwhelmed.

When was the last time you took a moment to really live? To intentionally enjoy your life and everything around you?

We often get too caught up in life’s distractions, sacrificing our overall health and mental wellbeing to ensure that all other obligations are met. However, this leaves us feeling more and more depleted each day.

Thankfully, scientists have discovered a way for us to stress less and feel better. All while, boosting our immune functions and increasing the production of the white blood cells responsible for fighting off cancer and infections. And the answer is right outside our doorstep…

How you ask?

Nature.

What is Forest Bathing

Put simply, forest bathing means spending time in a natural setting and focusing on all of the sights and sounds around you. In other words, it’s about living in the moment and enjoying the natural beauty of the world while finding inner peace.

Forest bathing relies on the concept of biophilia. That is, the biological need to connect with nature.

According to American biologist E.O. Wilson, since we evolved in nature, we have a biological need to connect with it. We love being in nature because we learned to love the things that helped us survive. We feel comfortable among nature because that is where our species has lived for most of our life on earth.

We are genetically determined to love the natural world – it is in our DNA.

This affinity for nature is fundamental for our health. Contact with the natural world is just as important to us as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Although the science behind why we feel better when surrounding ourselves with nature has only become clear in recent years, the Japanese have been practicing this for centuries.

Commonly known in Japan as Shinrin yoku, the art of forest bathing has been gaining popularity across the globe for its amazing benefits.

The best news is, you don’t even have to be located near a forest to practice it. You can begin to enjoy the benefits of forest bathing in the comfort of your own home simply by adding some plants!

Benefits of Forest Bathing

Studies show that there are many physical and mental health benefits when you enjoy the art of forest bathing. And these impressive benefits are all a direct result of a natural process whereby trees emit organic compounds called Phytoncides into the air, which you then breathe into your body.

Basically, trees release phytoncides as a means of protecting themselves from germs and other parasites, and when you ingest them during forest bathing, you gain therapeutic protection for yourself as well.

In fact, forest bathing is known to decrease:

  1. Stress
  2. Depression
  3. Anxiety
  4. Inflammation
  5. Heart rate
  6. Blood pressure
  7. Allergies
  8. Chronic pain

And it’s known to increase:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Happiness
  3. Sense of calm
  4. Gratitude
  5. Selflessness
  6. Metabolism
  7. Immune functions
  8. Natural killer cells (white blood cells that fight off cancer)

It really is the ultimate form of self-care for your body, mind, and soul. Just by being one with nature, your entire being can release all of that negative energy that’s pent up within you, and reinvigorate itself with positive energy.

This positive energy in turn helps you feel more present in your life leading to an increase in satisfaction and enjoyment, as well as the improvement of biological functions within your body.

How to Forest Bathe

Forest bathing is a very simple process, and there isn’t just one right way to do it. In order to forest bathe effectively, all you need to do is spend quality time in nature while observing everything around you.

During forest bathing, be sure to:

  • Be immersed in a natural setting 
  • Remove all distractions by turning off your technology
  • Practice deep breathing techniques 
  • Clear your mind 
  • Focus on all of your senses 
  • Observe what is happening around you

The way you practice forest bathing may be slightly different from other people, and that’s entirely okay. What matters most is that you allow your body and mind to slow down, soak up the positive energy that nature provides, and release all of the worry, stress, exhaustion, and anxiety that has built up within you.

Forest bathing is a meditative process that everyone can benefit from, and you can even practice forest bathing together as a family activity.

Where to Forest Bathe

The good news is that any natural setting near you is an ideal location for forest bathing. Even if you live in a busy city, you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature.

Forest bathing locations include:

  • Forests
  • Mountains
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Gardens
  • Parks
  • Along the coast

As long as there is a peaceful area with trees or plants nearby, you can experience all of the amazing health benefits of forest bathing for yourself.

And some of the most breathtaking places to enjoy forest bathing are located right here in Australia. With more than 7 million sq km of stunning natural scenery, 

Australia provides the perfect backdrop for breathing in those essential Phytoncides. 

10 Australian locations you simply must explore through forest bathing are:

  1. The dense forest along the coast of Lake Hillier 
  2. The Daintree Rainforest along The Great Barrier Reef
  3. The waterfalls and natural pools in Litchfield National Park  
  4. Lord Howe Island
  5. The Fairy Pools in Noosa National Park
  6. The Scenic Rim 
  7. Noosa Everglades
  8. Phillip Island
  9. Wollongong Botanic Garden
  10. The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

You just can’t go wrong with any of these incredible locations.

Forest Bathing at Home

While our ancestors certainly spent significantly more time communing with nature, the average person these days spends a shocking 90% of their time indoors. Not to mention the increasing number of lockdowns occurring, limiting our exposure to the outside environment.

Of course, what this means is that you’re not getting that essential exposure to nature that is so vital for your health. Therefore, your indoor air quality is more important than ever before.

Fortunately, indoor plants such as the peace lily can help you bring the art of forest bathing into your own home. Even on the busiest days, you can boost your mood and increase your health just by owning some plants!

Here at Greenif-i, we make this easy with our plant subscription box. Start bringing the Japanese art of forest bathing into the comfort of your own home and see for yourself the benefits of being amongst nature!