Getting back to nature is officially a stress reliever with its own title, “forest bathing”.
Also called ecotherapy and nature therapy, it all started in Japan, in the 1980s as a psychological and physiological tool called shinrin-yoku which means forest bath.
It is the official practise of deliberately connecting yourself with the energy of the natural world. There are people who even say it increases your life span.
Forestbathing is said to help conquer disease, heart problems, blood pressure, stress, and even lifespan and death.
The health aspects are achieved by slowing the body down, and slowing down cortisol production, heart rate and the sympathetic nerve responses, a little like yoga.
It is no wonder Forest Bathing is being talked about and back on the radar at this time in the world.
And it’s relatively easy to do – and free in Australia. You simply go to a forest, and instead of hiking through it, you walk very slowly, listening and breathing into the energy of the trees and the natural surrounds. It’s almost a combination of walking and meditation combined with the best of nature.
There are over 1500 official forest therapy guides globally, but they insist they are not the therapist, rather it is using the forest as a therapist.
There are even indiginous guides here in Australia.
I recently went on an unofficial Forest Bathing adventure, where I also learnt about the natural environment.
I was nervous at the idea of three hours in nature, as it seemed like a long time, but once out there, it went so quickly I could have stayed there longer.
I can’t wait to go all the way next time, take some friends, and simply focus on nature.
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