When was the last time you truly felt inner peace and calm? In today’s concrete jungle and the omniscience of our digital devices, stress has become a mainstay. And if you’re feeling just a tad bit worn out (we know we are), fret not. There’s a new wellness trend that has slowly taken over Singapore: Forest Bathing, or rather, “Shinrin-Yoku,” to give you that much needed time out, and all it takes it about two hours of your time.
Read on to find out more and the benefits you can reap just by practising this activity.
So, what is forest bathing all about?
For starters, forest bathing isn’t so much a bath in the literal sense. Neither is it merely a stroll in the park. The aim of this activity is, rather, to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment by tuning into our senses.
What exactly does this mean? Each session will vary per guide and experience, but one guided forest bathing session lasts about two hours, and you will walk about a distance of 800 to 1000 metres at a slow and mindful pace. The guides help facilitate the session by offering purposefully crafted activities for you to interact with and connect with nature through your sensations. For instance, you may touch the bark of the tree, or notice the scents around you. When that happens, you start to become more conscious of all the sensations around you, allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment.
This relaxation and stress management activity originated in Japan in the 1980s and has spread on to Korea, the US, Europe, and now Singapore.
Why has forest bathing taken off?
The idea that spending more time in nature is good for our health is not a new concept. After all, most of human evolution has been spent close to nature. But medical research in Japan has gone as far as to show that the practice can boost immunity, mood, and reduce stress. In fact, one can even go as far as to consider forest bathing a form of medicine.
Furthermore, inhaling tree derived compounds, known as phytoncides, were found to reduce the concentration of stress hormones and enhance the activity of white blood cells, the cells responsible for fighting infections and other diseases.
Curious or ready to give it a try?
XIU Nature Connections hosts regular forest bathing classes by trained and certified forest therapy guides. Check out their website for more information.