Forest Bathing on Earth Day

Forest

Forest bathing

Today is Earth Day and a great opportunity to celebrate the planet and our connection to it. What better way to do that than being involved in Shinrin-yoku, a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere.” We’ve come to call it Forest Bathing, and it refers to going out to a forest and involving ourselves in the sights and smells we encounter.

There are no hard and fast rules, but basically the steps are as follows: “Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses. This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy.” As you fill up your mind and body with the forest atmosphere, you may feel your stress levels lowered and your breathing deepened. It can seem intuitive that this is good for your health, but researchers have shown just how good.

According to the Shinrin-yoku website, the scientifically-proven benefits include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep

Upon entering the forest you immediately inhale the anti-inflammatory, brain protecting, and immune-boosting substances released by the plants. Many of these chemical compounds, which are emitted from leaves, needles, tree trunks and bark, are found in essential oils. These components help us handle stress and better our mood, as well as deepening our connection to the land and its species.

If you don’t have the opportunity to head to the forest, or if you want to extend the effects of your time spent there, then you can use essential oils to recreate the feeling. Close your eyes and imagine the forest. See the grand trees, with sunlight dappling through their leaves. Let your gaze slowly lower down to the forest floor where you notice a pile of tree needles. What do you smell? Slow your breathing down and then deeply inhale a foresty essential oil. How does it affect how you feel?

If you chose Black Spruce (Picea mariana) then you may notice a sense of calm coming over you. Perhaps your oil was Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and your breathing is made easier. Selecting Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) could help you sleep better later on. Although roses aren’t often found in a forest, breathing in Rose (Rosa damascena) essential oil can improve your mood and lower anxiety.

So give yourself some time, on Earth Day or any day, to take a break and head to the forest. It can offer healing powers, even if it’s only the forest in your mind.

2 responses to “Forest Bathing on Earth Day

  1. I accidentally purchased cedar wood oil (instead of clove oil)last week. I’m interested in learning how to use cedar wood and it’s benefits. Can you help me learn more? Thanks!

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    • Sue, you are in luck because Cedarwood is a great essential oil. It’s one of my faves, and you can learn more about it in a previous post I wrote here . Please let me know if you have more questions about it.

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