Forest Bath or Shinrin-Yoku
What is a forest bath, wich benefits give us to our health and how to practice it.
A natural remedy that strengthens your immune system, your physical and mental health, increases your creativity, reduces stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure among many other things.
The Japanese term Shinrin-Yoku 森林 浴 literally means "bathing or plunging into the forest" the concept was established in Japan in 1989, by Akiyama Tomohide and to cover the increasing demand for contact with natural environment because a growing urban population under stress . There are many scientific studies about the benefits offered by forest baths, the Japanese government has invested in research in this type of practice since 2004, also the California Forest and Nature Therapy Center, the United States investigates and exposes the benefits of this new and ancient practice at the same time.
"We have spent 99.9% of our evolution in natural environments"
These are some of the statements that Yoshifumi Miyazaki, anthropologist and deputy director of the Center for Environment, Health and Field Studies at Chiba University, outside Tokyo.
"Our physiological functions are still adapted to these environments and on a daily basis we can achieve a feeling of well-being if we synchronize our rhythms with those of the natural environment".
7 BENEFITS - forest bath
1. Decreased stress hormone or cortisol Helping to reduce various pathologies such as blood pressure and heart rate, headaches, anxiety and depression. Being exposed to high levels of cortisol is related to memory and concentration deficits as well as weight gain. According to the study by Miyazaki and Juyoung Lee, a decrease of up to 12.5% of the stress hormone has been detected in people who practice the forest bath regularly.
2. Improved immune system When we immerse ourselves in a forest we breathe volatile compounds emitted by the natural environment that help increase the blood concentration of natural killer cells, a lymphocyte, and an important component of the system innate immune for the defense of the organism. Its function is the destruction of infected cells and cancer cells, in addition to regulating immune responses. Studies by Dr. Qing Li, an immunologist at Tokyo Medical School, conclude that forest baths are beneficial for our defenses
3. Improved mood The walks for more than 20 minutes a day increase the feeling of health and strength and promote mood. (University study of Michigan USA, 2019)
4. Increased creativity Forest baths awaken our senses, our body and mind connect with nature and by accepting our presence in it, it positively affects our creativity.
* It is important to note that to improve creativity you must spend more than 2 hours regularly every day at the natural environment.
5. Parasympathetic nervous system When doing the forest baths, the body and mind relax, allowing to regulate the levels of the parasympathetic or autonomous nervous system, this translates into a decrease in heart rate, increased intestinal activity, and a feeling of relaxation.
6. Improved sleep
Calm, tranquility and breathing are inherent in the practice of Shinrin-Yoku, so as a result we will obtain greater easy to fall asleep and rest deeply, the effect of a good rest allows us to enjoy the feeling of well-being at next day, so we will be, less irritable or distressed, more positive and optimistic in the face of adversity or evidence that we find.
7. Ease of concentration
Because the body relaxes and concentrates on observing and contemplating the environment, we train our brain so that in future occasions it is easier to concentrate.
6 tips to PRACTICE
THE FOREST BATH
1. Contemplation Contemplate, observe nature, accepting and acknowledging our presence in it. 2. Exercises Free conscious breathing and visualization are some of the most important aspects, many times you can get to relate mindfulness exercises or yoga, before or after the forest bath. 3. Time There is no rush, the recommendation is to do 2 km walks. in 2 hours, at no time do you want to compare forest baths with hiking, unlike hiking, in forest baths, the movement from point A to point B is not important. 4. Senses Pay attention to all our senses, activate the ability to observe not only sight. 5. Guide It is not just a walk, so I recommend that the first times you go with a guide, who will offer you relevant resources and exercises so that your meaningful experience, it can be done alone or accompanied by a group, after having learned the dynamics, you can do it alone. 6. Mature forests It can be practiced almost anywhere in the natural environment, but the oldest and least manipulated forests have greater benefits, since in mature trees have more complete ecosystems reside, the biodiversity is much greater and consequently we can more easily absorb tarpenes and the fetonicides that give off the trees, these are very beneficial for our organism.
It should be noted that the forest bath is only part of the treatment or therapy, if you have ailments or maladjustments in your body, visit your doctor.