Forest Bathing: Find Your Inner Wilderness Woman
Finding your inner Wilderness Woman will take many shapes depending on your own, personal connection to the world around you; but regardless of how it looks to you, whether you come into your own in a lively urban environment or a still woodland escape, finding the space where you can reconnect with your universe and the truest version of yourself is a wellbeing practice that will make you radiant from the inside-out. You can’t beat the warm glow of having your energy waves bent back into shape.
Residing in the heart of the Cotswolds, for us, it’s all about getting back to nature and being at one with the beauty of the wild world all around and Forest Bathing is one of our favourite ways of doing this. In the words of Alan Watts:
“You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.”
Forest Bathing or Shinrin-Yoko is the practice of taking in the forest atmosphere for health and wellbeing benefits…
If you’ve ever been for a long, leisurely stroll deep in the countryside, you’ll probably have noticed that you feel refreshed and revitalised after doing so, but there’s more to it than taking in fresh air.
Over the past several decades, since becoming a widely used form of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine, Forest Bathing has been looked into by multiple researchers undertaking scientific studies who have found that the health benefits of simply being in a natural environment are staggering.
A 40-minute walk in the wilds has been proven to improve mood and decrease Cortisol levels in stressed out test subjects:
“One study conducted on 260 people at 24 sites in 2005 and 2006 found that the average concentration of salivary cortisol, a stress hormone, in people who gazed on forest scenery for 20 minutes was 13.4 percent lower than that of people in urban settings.
Leisurely forest walks, compared with urban walks, show a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a seven percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate.” – Yoshifumi Miyazaki, University of Chiba (source)
With stress being a leading cause of many minor and major ailments, enjoying something this relaxing can help participants to heal from a vast range of problems, from insomnia and high blood pressure to heart problems and diabetes.
Boosted Immune System Function
Forest Bathing won’t only make you feel better mentally it will actually improve your overall health physically too. This is due to the natural compounds (Phytoncide) released by trees that increase our Natural Killer cells (Lymphocute – a type of white blood cell) which play a huge part in the host-rejection of tumours and virally infected cells.
Each one of the studies conducted showed that time spent in nature always seems to significantly improve mood, particularly in comparison with test subjects who rarely get screen-free time.
In a world that is filled with a constant distraction of technology, giving your brain a breather and your soul time to reconnect with what is real can really turn your whole perspective upside-down (or, the right way up!)
Spending time Forest Bathing when recovering from a surgery or illness can seriously speed up your healing time.
With the overall decrease in stress allowing your body to use energy more efficiently and those Natural Killer cells doing a great job and keeping infections at bay and boosting your immune system, with nature on your side you’ll be feeling right as rain in no time.
Increased Energy & Focus
In a study taken by The University of Illinois, exposing 17 children diagnosed with ADHD to a variety of environments, results showed that concentration was substantially improved after just a 20-minute walk in the park, on a par with the effects of taking Ritalin.