Shinrin-Yoku: What is the Forest Bath and How It Works
An immersive experience that, thanks to contact with trees, promises to help the body and mind to regenerate, as long as it is lived in peace, forgetting the clock, but dedicating all the necessary time to it. The same time that you believe you never have, but that it is essential to reserve for yourself, in total harmony with what surrounds us.
The philosophy behind it
Like many Asian practices, this too has its roots in a very precise idea, namely that man, like other animals, is a child of the earth and that, therefore, only contact with it can heal him.
This "union between man and nature relies on the primary instincts and generates an immediate relaxation and a sense of peace and balance which, once back from the excursion, translates into the physical need to leave again.
In Japan, the government also recommends it
In Japan this technique is not only recommended, but has become the subject of a real health and social policy initiative by the Government, which for years has been pushing citizens as much as possible to dedicate themselves to relaxation in the open air, with the aim to make the activity an integral part of everyone's life.
A milestone that would bring enormous benefits to the Land of the Rising Sun, where work rates are often taken to extremes, but which would benefit at any latitude.. Touching a leaf or the trunk of a tree can be a unique and regenerating experience, as well as stopping on the banks of a small stream to listen to the rustle of the water or immerse yourself in it.
Make the movements as slowly as possible, so that even the mental rhythms can slow down, letting yourself be guided and accompanied by the fresh air and the scents and noises that are released all around.
It is also essential to do the right breathing exercises, able to keep stress under control., decrease heart rhythms and blood sugars and reduce anxiety, depression and anger, so much so that in Japan even doctors often prescribe Shinrin-yoku to their patients, especially to those who for various reasons are subjected to situations of high stress.
Laughter yoga is also very useful to relieve stress and stimulate psychological well-being.
The psychological well-being that one feels while walking in the green is given by several factors, first of all the therapeutic and curative effects of the essential oils released by plants in a natural way. The most incisive are those of conifers, also known as woody essential oils, which seem to further reduce the risk of psychosocial problems related to stress.
But a few hours of walking in a wooded environment allow you to come into contact with many other natural substances, which combined together, act on blood pressure, generating a relaxing and calming effect.
Shinrin-yoku is also indicated during the recovery period from surgery or illness, to help those with sleep problems and counteract the hyperactivity syndrome and the inability to concentrate.
This technique could also be useful for treating stress related to climate change, which has several negative effects on health, not just the environment.
For those who live in the city, a park may be sufficient
The elements to think about including this good habit in your routine, therefore, are not lacking, even if it is often objectively difficult to have a forest relatively close to the place where you live.
In this case it is possible to adopt alternative solutions, such as taking a walk in a city park. The emotional impact of a forest is certainly different, but even these small oases of urban peace are rich in vegetation and can play a therapeutic action in their own small way.
To regain well-being, you can also ask for help from Rolfing, a method with many benefits.
Alternatively, EFT, a healing method based on tapping the body's energy points, may be helpful.