“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein
We all know it feels good to spend time in the forest, but why? This blog post will explain the benefits of “shinrin-yoku,” or the Japanese practice of forest bathing.
Spending time in nature is not only relaxing for the spirit. One Danish study found that people who live near green spaces and forests are healthier and live longer.
Together, let’s explore how you can revolutionize your health with an accessible (and free) practice that is deeply entrenched in our DNA – our connection to the natural world.
What is Forest Bathing?
In the Japanese language, “shinrin” means forest, and “yoku” means bath. According to Dr. Qing Li, Japan’s leading forest bathing researcher and president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, forest bathing (or “shinrin-yoku” in Japanese) is the practice of mindfully spending time outdoors – particularly in the company of trees.
What are the Benefits of Forest Bathing?
Approximately 40 years of widespread research shows a broad range of health benefits from forest bathing, including:
- Improved mental health
- Decreased stress
- Better immune system function
- The activation of NK cells (cancer-fighting cells)
- Improved mood
- Improved vigor
- Better quality sleep
- Reduced fatigue
- And unrivaled feelings of awe
How Does Forest Bathing Work?
As we mentioned in our blog on the benefits of exercising outdoors, the advantages of forest bathing lie in aromatic compounds called phytoncides. These essential oils are found in plants, wood, fruits, and vegetables.
So, if you are a fan of integrating the health benefits of essential oils into your routine – you may be on to something!
What are the Benefits of Phytoncides?
Researchers believe phytoncides provide the following benefits:
- A reduction in stress hormones like cortisol
- lower blood pressure
- Improved immunity
- Increased sleep quality
- Increased parasympathetic nerve activity (fostering a greater sense of well-being)
- Increased empathy
- Increased production of NK (natural killer) cells which are known to attack tumors, infectious substances, and even cancers.
Don’t Forget About the Schumann Resonances
Another major factor that makes forest bathing so amazing for your health is the Schumann Resonances. Ranging from 7.83Hz to 33.8Hz, these frequencies keep your cells functioning optimally, balance your body’s electrical potential, and allow your body to repair itself effectively.
Do you wish to learn more about the Schumann Resonances?
Please explore the following blog posts:
- Scalar Energy for Winter Health Support
- EMF Protection: How to Eliminate an Invisible Threat
- The Ultimate Guide to Healing with Scalar Waves
How does Forest Bathing Fit into the Hache Protocol™?
The Hache Protocol for Pain Resolution™ is our proprietary blueprint for naturally achieving optimum health and healing. Comprised of five key elements, stress reduction, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and microcurrent therapy, The Hache Protocol™ has successfully helped thousands of chronic pain sufferers worldwide reclaim their life from the limitations of severe illness, disease, and pain.
Forest bathing is a practice that perfectly aligns with the philosophy of The Hache Protocol™ because it is a drug-free way to achieve better sleep, lower stress, and complete low-impact exercise while boosting the immune system.
How to Start Forest Bathing Today (No Matter the Weather)
So, you may be wondering, “how do I start forest bathing today?”. It’s actually way easier than you’re probably imagining.
Forest bathing in 7 easy steps:
- Set aside 1-2 hours for your forest bathing excursion.
- Select an area that has a large canopy of trees.
- Upon entering the forest, stand still and realize your body in space. This step typically takes 15- 20 minutes. Regard this step to be like stretches before exercise.
- Next, recognize the senses around you (touch, smell, sight) with your eyes closed.
- Continue your forest bath by mindfully walking through the trees. If you feel a rush of anxiety, recenter yourself by focusing on your senses (touch, smell, sight).
- Reflect on any revelations you have during your excursion out loud.
- Traditionally, the Japanese conclude their forest bathing excursions with a tea ceremony. This practice allows sufficient time to reflect outside of the mindful activity of forest bathing. A light snack or beverage of choice helps aid in this reflective process.
Consider forest bathing to be a return to your senses. With practice, you can train your body to return to a state of biophilia (or your biological need to connect with nature).
Forest Bathing with Essential Oils?
Don’t have access to an environment conducive to forest bathing? In that case, look to phytoncide-rich essential oils. Studies have found essential oils to provide various health benefits. And the best part? You can forest bathe right in your own home.
But remember, as with anything having to do with your health, it’s essential to look into potential risks. Some essential oils have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating them into your wellness routine.
Two phytoncide-rich essential oils:
- Hinoki Cypress. Derived from the roots, wood, and needles of the Japanese Cypress, Hinoki Cypress essential oil is an excellent choice for indoor forest bathing. Sacred in Japanese culture, Hinoki is often used to build shrines and temples.
- Hiba wood. Long used to build homes in Japan, Hiba wood essential oil features a delightfully citrusy, cider-like aroma that users describe as uplifting, purifying, and stimulating. Many describe Hiba wood’s properties to evoke a feeling of sitting in a Japanese sauna. Allow your nervous system to relax and enjoy Hiba wood essential oil next time you need an indoor forest bathing session.
Tips on sourcing essential oils:
According to Statista, the global demand for essential oils is projected to increase significantly in the next five years, from around 226.9 kilotons in 2018 to a whopping 404.2 kilotons in 2025.
With so many people hopping on the essential oil bandwagon, you may be concerned about the quality of your oils. In that case, look for organic, sustainably harvested essential oils whenever possible. If the price is incredibly low, there’s a good chance you may be dealing with counterfeit or compromised essential oils.
Though essential oils have been shown to mimic the benefits of forest bathing potentially, they’re no substitute for the spiritual and physical medicine the trees themselves provide.
Spread the Word
As we enter into 2022, many of us reflect on what we prioritize in our lives. Gone are the days of endless grinding, junk sleep, and loads of stress. It’s all about peace of mind, gratitude, and a vibrant physical condition these days.
If the health benefits of forest bathing sound like something that could help you put a greater focus on your overall wellness, we encourage you to forward this blog post to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Health promoting outdoor environments–associations between green space, and health, health-related quality of life and stress based on a Danish national representative survey – PubMed (nih.gov)
Society of Forest Medicine Website (forest-medicine.com)
Definition of natural killer cell – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms – National Cancer Institute
Phytoncides (Wood Essential Oils) Induce Human Natural Killer Cell Activity | Request PDF (researchgate.net)
Essential Oils and Health – PubMed (nih.gov)
Essential oils market demand worldwide 2018-2025 | Statista
Clifford, M. A. (2018). Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature. Newburyport, MA: Conari Press, 80.
Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.