Finding Medicine in Nature – Forest-bathing for Stress Reduction

The Japanese are very cognizant of nature, it’s value and connection to their own well-being.  Many traditions in Japan involve appreciating and connecting with nature in it’s various seasons and representations.  Honouring the gifts from nature, understanding humanity’s role within nature and nature’s essential role in ensuring humanity’s health and happiness.  From natural environments to beautifully designed gardens, the Japanese love of nature is evident.

Image courtesy of JP Moczulski

Image courtesy of JP Moczulski

A recent trend within the last 30 years based on Shinto and Buddhist philosophy is something called “forest-bathing” or Shinrin-Yoku where you immerse yourself in the woods letting the energy and spirit of the place seep into your soul bringing peace, centredness and calm to your overstimulated senses.  We are meant to dwell within nature, not apart from it in man-made cities with unrelenting amounts of noise, pollution and constant stimulation.  Large cities in particular with an unending amount of traffic, streetlights, advertising signs, airplanes and so on provide a person without the means to truly relax and recover, essentially leaving us in constant stress.  Add to that the peaks we experience during this time of year – the holidays – the traffic jams, the crush of shoppers, social events, school exams, home pressures and we are simply overwhelmed by stress.  The result is ill-health for both us and our planet that is prevalent today.

So take a moment, read the articles below on forest-bathing from Mother Nature Network and Outside Magazine and see if you can find a way to bring forest-bathing into your life.  Take some trail mix, a thermos of hot drinks if you live in a northern climate or a cool one if you live where it is warmer and head to the woods for a much needed break from the holiday chaos.  One of my favourite areas is a place called Hilton Falls along the Niagara Escarpment in Milton, Ontario about 25 minutes from my home but I also enjoy a walk in the woods just down the road from my house.  If you forest-bathe, let us know your favourite place by posting a comment.

See great places to forest-bathe

http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/wellness/Take-Two-Hours-of-Pine-Forest-and-Call-Me-in-the-Morning.html

Posted in Amazing Places, Health and Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Nature, Spiritual Connection Tagged with: , , , , ,
2 comments on “Finding Medicine in Nature – Forest-bathing for Stress Reduction
  1. Thank you for this article. Your readers may be interested to know that forest bathing has been evolving toward a formal, guided practice that in Japan, Korea, the U.S. and Europe is being called “Forest Therapy.” In the U.S., where I guide, among the core services that guides provide are to simply slow people down, and to call attention to sensory experience. It sounds simple, but for most people it’s very difficult without some facilitation. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, based in the U.S., is providing training and certification to wellness professionals and nature educators. The training curriculum is built around the research findings from the forest bathing field, and also from mindfulness meditation practices. Readers who would like to know more can visit http://www.nftg.org.

    • Libby Yuill says:

      Thank you, Amos for your comments. I myself looked at the National Forest Therapy Guides website and found it of great interest. At some point in the future I would like to obtain certification as a forest therapy guide. I think it is a terrific way to slow down and reconnect with our natural environments and bring ourselves back into balance by re-establishing our physical and spiritual connection to nature. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions and reading the post.

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