Forest bathing has arrived in Europe. The nature experience from Japan, where shinrin-yoku, as it was originally called, has a longer history, is also finding more and more interested people and providers in this country. We tell you everything about the what, how and why.
For several years now Japanese scientists have been studying what forest bathing, i.e. being consciously in the forest, does to the human body. The results: Pulse and breathing calm down and blood pressure is normalised after only a few minutes. Certain hormones that are beneficial to heart health are found to be present in higher concentrations after forest bathing, and the killer cells of the immune system can also be stimulated by spending time under trees.
Forest bathing in Asia and Europe
The forest as a place of longing where people find healing and relaxation? This is already being implemented in the Far East. There are nature reserves and parks in Japan, but also in South Korea, where visitors can experience the meditative tranquillity of the forests - also under guidance. Interested people can also train to become "forest therapists" there. In Europe,Shinrin-Yoku is not yet a recognised therapy, but most spa clinics are located in places that allow intensive contact with nature in addition to the actual treatment - this can be by the sea, in the mountains or near a forest.
Where can you learn forest bathing?
For city dwellers who may not have set foot in a real natural forest for a while, the idea of walking there alone can be somewhat intimidating. That's why there are "taster courses" to help take their first steps under the canopy . The participants learn how to deal with nature and themselves in a mindful way during a stay of 2-3 hours. In this way, all senses are to be attuned to the forest. This allows them to perceive the scents of trees and ferns and to touch tree bark or moss, as well as to listen to typical forest sounds. You can find out more about forest bathing with the forest office in the NIKIN experience report .
How to meditate in the forest
However, you do not necessarily need guidance to immerse yourself in the forest. For the time being, it is enough to look for a quiet place, to dwell consciously in the forest and allow yourself to perceive your surroundings, to allow all impressions to affect your senses without restraint. After a short time, everyday thoughts and stress will fade into the background and the forest can unfold its healing, calming effect. Just try it out the next time you are in the forest.