Original article posted here… https://bjornblythe.com/2016/05/11/forest-bathing/
Bjorn Blythe, May 11th, 2016
Living in the developed world, it isn’t always easy to escape from the tall buildings and smog of the city. Work commitments, exam stress and family duties can leave one feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to say the least. For those who love the outdoors I have a natural solution to help cope with all of those feelings of anxiety, stress and even depression. Taking some time out to yourself can help bring an awareness to thoughts non judgmentally and facilitates an awakening of the senses through bringing attention to the ’now’ (see Mindfulness and Meditation post – (https://wordpress.com/post/bjornblythe.com/147).
During your experience in the forest the mind focuses on sights, smells and sounds and it is said to produce a hormone which helps prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more. Furthermore, additional research suggests that the essential oils found in wood (phytoncides) can significantly increase anti-cancer protein production (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16873099).
There are a couple of things I should mention about forest bathing, firstly it doesn’t involve actual “bathing” and secondly, it requires being in a forest. Forest bathing began in Japan, which takes participants on a short sensory stroll through the forest. For this practice you will need to put away your phones and any other distractions. This practice is about being aware of the many organisms existing in small spaces in the trees, flowers, birds, fish, etc. The sounds and smells produced by the water, air, wildlife and dirt are more stimulating and more beneficial than a daily cup of coffee or your morning commute to work.
Similar to yoga, you can practice this on your own however it is always useful to have a guide to help focus on the results and will heighten the experience. During my classes I take my students thru the forest on an endurance hike that aims to improve cardiovascular strength as well as general fitness. Students can opt to run the course as part of my BB1000 workout, here the forest bathing option is up to the individual.
Here are a couple of places in Northern Ireland I recommend to try this…
- Redburn Country Park, Holywood, county Down.
2. Gosford Park, County Armagh.