Shinrin-Yoku: discover forest bathing…you will feel amazing!

You don’t feel up to life….? Feeling overwhelmed, low on energy, scattered? Then nothing will suit you better than a forest bath, or, as the Japanese call it: Shinrin-Yoku.

What are forest baths? It is not a revolutionary therapy, but a compendium of healthy habits that bring us back to the forest as a therapeutic place to balance our mind and body.

Some speak of forest bathing as the antidote to the 21st century epidemic of stress. In Japan, it is prescribed by doctors to combat stress and anxiety, which can cause serious physical and mental disorders. Doctors in Scotland, Germany, France, Korea and Germany are doing the same.

Shinrin-Yoku: Descubre los baños de bosque

In Spain we no longer send sick people to the countryside to recuperate in contact with nature, as was done in the past, but the truth is that in our country, according to the INE, 59% of the workforce suffers from stress and anxiety, and around 30% of sick leave is due to these ailments, so it seems urgent that we incorporate a remedy as simple for health as getting back to nature.

Shinrin-Yoku consists of a meditative walk in silence, between 40 minutes (minimum) and 4 hours, immersed in the atmosphere of the forest. Walking slowly, enjoying with all five senses, without a phone or camera. According to some studies, these forest baths improve our eyesight, lower our heart rate and blood pressure, strengthen our immune system, increase the number of anti-cancer NK cells and calm our mind.

What are the benefits of forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku?

It has been scientifically proven that cortisol levels (the stress hormone) drop exponentially when we are in the forest or in contact with nature. And also that in the forest we breathe in phytoncides, natural oils that trees secrete to protect themselves from insects, bacteria and fungi. So their defence system benefits ours, as immunologist Dr Qing Li, director of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, argues in this article.

He explains that the first of a series of forest bath studies was done in Iiyama, and he observed that “after 3 days and 2 nights in the forest, the participants’ NK cells increased by 50% and their activity by 52.6%, along with an increase in the presence of anti-cancer proteins”. These same studies by Dr Qing Li indicate that the effect, after spending 3 days and 2 nights in the forest, lasts up to 30 days. If you only go for the day, the effect lasts for a week.

So, there is nothing healthier than reconnecting with nature and with oneself. To do this, we must establish routines that take us, at least once a week, to our natural habitat.

Close your eyes, tune your hearing and sense of smell, breathe… Nature is good for you.


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