Forests have primal health-giving powers.
By simply immersing our 5 senses in nature - connecting with it through sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, we can bridge the gap between us and the natural world. The restorative power of forests and green space has been acknowledged for millennia. 2,500 years ago, Cyrus the Great built lush green gardens in the crowded capital of Persia with the intention of improving the overall health and sense of calm of his people. In Japan, “forest bathing” or “shinrin-yoku” is not only commonly practiced but has actually been part of the national health program for 35 years. Shirin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. Japan’s leading scholar on forest medicine argues that the human body is made to adapt to a natural environment and that “forest therapy is not about curing the body after it develops a sickness. It’s about developing a body that does not easily get sick.” While forest therapy can be guided experience and there are special centers for it as well, you can forest-bathe on your own and anywhere in the world – wherever there are trees; you don’t even need a forest, you can do shinrin-yoku anywhere – in a nearby park or in your garden. The trick is to engage all your senses and let nature enter through your eyes, nose, nose, mouth, ears, hands and feet. Look at the different hues of greens in the trees and leaves, smell the natural aromatherapy, taste the freshness of the air, listen to the rustle of the leaves and the ground beneath your feet, touch the bark of a tree with your palm, or even lie on the ground. So next time you need a reset, find some trees - open your senses and cross the bridge to natural calm and centeredness.