Forest Bathing - Surprising Benifits Of Being In Nature

View of a bend of a forest path with the sun peeking through the tress

In 1982 Tomohide Akiyama of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture first coined the phrase "Shinrin-Yoku" or Forest therapy. If you have ever gone for a leisurely stroll alone in a wooded park and just enjoyed the air, the sights, the sounds, then you perhaps, inadvertently, already experienced this magical practice. As we know, being in nature, (green space) has many benifits but "forest bathing" as it is now commonly known, is more than simply going for a hike. It's about inserting yourself, your concious self, within the setting of nature. It's taking notice of the life around you and absorbing what the forest is putting out into the atmosphere. The practice of taking it all in, all of it. The forest has endless, everchanging views. If you look. And the scents and sounds change with every season. To say it is a wonderland is no exaggeration.

 View overlooking a lake from a forest park bench

There is a deeper history in the Japanese culture of respect and appreciation of nature, in all it's perfect imperfections. That history has proven to be correct in it's practices, as in our modern times we now know that there is science explaining the benifits that forest bathing does for our overall well being. Phytoncides are airborne chemicals that plants and trees naturally give off as protection from insects. Not only do these chemicals have natural antibacterial and antifugal qualities but they also activate an immune response which strengthens our immune systems.

Possible benifits of Forest Bathing:

  • boosts immune system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces stress
  • increase in ability to focus
  • may assist in speed of healing wounds
  • increase in energy levels 
  • get better sleep


So the next time you happen to go for a stroll in the woods or a park, take the time to engulf your senses and appreciate the natural abundance of benifits surrounding you. You won't be disappointed.

What do you think? Is this something you have experienced yourself?

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