The Delights of ‘Forest Bathing’


I can’t say whether this is synchronicity at work or signs of the next emerging “thing”.  The Japanese call it Shinrin-Yoku which translates as forest bathing or more accurately forest therapy. The concept is that time spent in the forest is healing – from the phytochemicals  released by the trees to the soothingly calm atmosphere. I am wholeheartedly behind the concept even though I prefer a more casual approach.

In just the last few weeks I’ve come across this relatively new term (the Japanese formalized it the 1980’s) at least three times. The first was in the forest permaculture book I’ve been reading: Farming the Woods. Followed by seeing it on  and later an advertisement for a specific spa.  All of which has coincided with Ella and I taking advantage of the forest section of Short Meadow having cleaned up all the old trash. There is an old bridle path that walks a ridge that we take advantage of frequently.  We both enjoy the 20 minutes it takes to go to the end and back. Ella practices getting over the two fallen trees like a champion jumper while I look for emerging spring plants and watch the woodpeckers.

I don’t think seeking respite in the forest is anything new – that probably goes back as far as human evolution. But recognizing that time alone, spent quietly in a woodland, is beneficial is a welcome  shift from the modern, Gortex-clad hiking mania intent on getting to the selfie-ready destination as fast as possible.

Give it a try if you have a chance – a solo trip into a local park where you can sit on a fallen log and just breathe for a few minutes. I find it does a world of good.