Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shinrin-yoku 森林浴


A bit of a change from my usual posts here.
But I really liked this concept and it is about staying healthy and ways to reclaim good health, so I think, in the end it is appropriate here.

The above calligraphy is Japanese for Forest Bath. At least I hope it is... I found it using websites that hopefully translates English into calligraphy correctly. :) If someone out there can read Japanese and know it's wrong please contact me, hopefully with the right characters and I'll change it.

Forest Bath is the translation of Shinrin-yoku into English.

What is a Forest Bath? It's simply walking in Nature. I ran across the concept surfing the web one night and I just loved the name and concept.

Back in the 1980s there was a study in Japan on a group of Woman who walked in the woods 2 – 4 hours a day for two consecutive days. They were tested before and after these walks. It was found that there were some amazing changes in their physiology including a 50% increase in cancer fighting White Blood Cells.

Shinrin-yoku has since become a national pastime and people are encouraged to walk in Nature as often as they can as part of their lifestyle.

Something we should encourage those of us living elsewhere in the World.

 I confess though I live in the mountains and literally in a forest I don't go out there as much as I should. My excuse now is the Winter but in warm weather I have no excuse. Well.. maybe the Tick epidemic but that's preventable and one can't allow one's self to become a martyr to it. And, of course, there is the whole LMS with surgeries and treatments but still there are times when I could go for even a little walk. 

Bloodroot covered rock in the forest behind me.
It's so easy to get tied up in one's inside life or even have going outside be just to do yard work. Or sit around relaxing.

As enjoyable as the latter is, it isn't the same as just walking in the woods and simply enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Nature as you stroll along.

I'm going to promise myself I'll walk out my door and just keep going as often as possible on at least, a weekly basis.

If you're not as lucky and live in the woods or country setting: find a park or Arboretum and stroll around.

The point isn't to Hike, Jog or Power Walk. It's to walk and relax and enjoy your surroundings and the Nature that is around you. (I was raised in a large city so yes: I know there is a lot of Nature in the City. Stroll out your door and start looking :) )

Here are some links about Shinrin-yoku, including some of the results of studies: