Forest bathing is the process of immersing yourself in nature. The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku, which translates to taking in the atmosphere of the forest. Our ancestors spent the majority of their time outdoors in nature. Only in our fast paced modern society, can forest bathing become a ‘thing’!
When was the last time you immersed yourself in nature for the sheer joy of it? Fresh air and sun are two very obvious benefits you get from being outside. But are you aware that being immersed in nature will help you with countless other health benefits?
Forest bathing has been studied and ‘The results show that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.’
In another study of chronic neck pain, indicate that subjects with chronic neck pain experienced a reduced number of trigger points after completing a forest bathing based exercise program.
To further upgrade your forest bathing, take your shoes off! if you are barefoot or touching the earth with your bare skin, you will experience another natural phenomenon called earthing. The cost of our lifestyles, technology, aging, nutrition etc all result in us producing numerous positively charged free radicals which cause inflammation and speed up our aging process. The earth’s surface has a negative change and when we interact with the surface of the earth, there is a beneficial exchange of ions that has a restorative effect on our health. This is called Grounding. Grounding allows us to neutralise the damaging excess of positively charged free radicals.
Ok so two very easy strategies for improved health and wellness, go outside and enjoy nature, and do it barefoot.
But what if you can't? If you are stuck in an office or time poor, here are some strategies you can employ to reap some of the rewards.
There was a fantastic study using Cypress essential oil that indicated plant based aromatic oils can increase natural T Killer cell activity. A group of 12 males were placed in a hotel room with Cypress essential oil being diffused. The results showed a decreased level of stress hormones over the time of the study. It doesn't need to be Cypress, choose any plant based essential oil to reap the benefits of plant medicine by helping your brain feel relaxed in nature. Make sure you choose a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) to ensure the health benefits. We use Doterra
There are a tonne of great grounding products you can buy these days that help 'earth' your body. We have a grounding sheet, and grounding pad which we turned into a mouse pad for our computer. You can also buy grounding shoes and straps. These products work by connecting to the Earth via a power point. To read more about grounding products check out Earthing Australia
Indoor plants & Gardens
Surround yourself with plants as much as possible. If you have a garden at home, go out and look at it, stand in it barefoot or hug a tree!
Look at pictures or videos of nature
Watching nature visuals or imagery has been shown to have similar health promoting effects. It's not as good as the real thing, but it's better than nothing. So change that computer desktop to a beautiful, lush forest.
You don't need a study to know how good this is for you, just get out and do it, and reap the rewards nature has to offer. Getting out into nature is our favourite Sunday past time and we feel relaxed, happier and are visibly refreshed afterwards!