Have you ever heard of the term “forest bathing”? Maybe the term is still foreign to your ears; however, forest bathing activities have been carried out by many people. For example, going on vacation to visit nature, such as mountains, forests, or the beach, with the aim of unwinding due to busy activities in urban areas is common.
By enjoying the natural scenery, our bored minds will also be clearer and refreshed. The term forest bathing itself has actually appeared in Japan since the 1980s. At that time, the Japanese government promoted therapeutic activities to enjoy the natural scenery.
This activity is very easy to do because you just need to walk in nature with full awareness to connect with the atmosphere around you. Some people do this therapy to relieve stress from their busy daily activities.
To get to know more about forest bathing, we will discuss the meaning of forest bathing and its health benefits, one of which is stress relief.
What is Forest Bathing?
The term Forest Bathing comes from the Japanese word “Shirin-yoku.” “Shirin” means forest, and “Yoku” means bath. The word is then translated into English.
Forest bathing is an activity that pampers all five senses by bathing in natural nuances, such as forests, mountains, and others. To do this activity, you only need to be in nature and enjoy the natural atmosphere through the senses, namely taste, hearing, touch, and smell.
The atmosphere in nature, such as the sound of birds chirping, the friction of leaves, and the sound of the wind makes the body able to breathe oxygen freely. The concept of forest bathing actually refers to a bridge between nature and the body. We as humans open up all our senses, and forest bathing is present as a bridge to blend with the surrounding nature. Thus, it should be underlined that forest bathing is not a sport, such as jogging or hiking, but rather a conscious and contemplative practice to unite the sights, sounds, feel and smells of the forest.
Benefits of Forest Bathing for the Body
As mentioned earlier, forest bathing has benefits for relieving fatigue and stress. Several studies have shown that forest bathing has many benefits for body health, especially mental health and a tired mind.
The other benefits of forest bathing are as follows:
Forest bathing can also be useful for improving brain focus. This is because your mood can change for the better after you walk in nature for 40 to 50 minutes.
This activity is suitable for those of you who feel you have lost focus due to your hectic daily activities. You can try forest bathing to increase your concentration again, so you can return to your activities in a better condition.
As previously explained, forest bathing is useful for reducing stress due to busy activities. According to research from Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan, someone who regularly does forest bathing has lower blood pressure. In addition, they also have a much calmer mind, because their anxiety has lowered.
The atmosphere of the forest can seep into the body and make stress hormones such as adrenaline decrease. Not only momentary stress, but forest bathing is also effective in dealing with chronic stress. No wonder many psychologists recommend forest bathing to deal with diseases that arise due to stress.
Another benefit of forest bathing is that it can increase immunity. This is because the plants in the forest naturally secrete a substance called phytoncide. Phytoncide is a type of natural essential oil derived from plants. This natural essential oil can protect them from harmful germs and insects.
In addition, breathing fresh air in the forest can increase the levels of natural killer cells in the body. These natural killer cells function to fight infection and cancer in the body.
A study in Japan also showed that people who often do forest bathing have an increased amount of natural killer cells in the body. This not only works on the immune system, but can also promote restful sleep and a good mood.
That was a brief explanation of forest bathing and its benefits for the body, especially to reduce stress. If you are interested in doing forest bathing, there are things you need to note. Forest bathing is different from sports, such as hiking, jogging, or walking in nature. Forest bathing is a form of meditation that can provide tremendous benefits for body and mental health.
For those of you who feel tired from your hectic daily activities, you can take a little time to relax to be at one with nature. That way your physical and mental health will be maintained, so you can do your activities in a much better condition.
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