If you experience Forrest bathing in Japan at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto you will probably think you are at a tourist site. This beautiful trail has been developed by the Japanese government to promote forest bathing for the Japanese population and although it is supposed to heal, boost immune function, reduce stress hormones, and cause you to physically relax it is hard to imagine as hundreds of people will work along the trail, taking more selfies instead of taking advantage of the healing power of the forest.
“Shinrinyoku (forest bathing) means: Taking a walk in the natural [not farmed] forest, experiencing the smell of the trees, listening to the sound of the wind and the voices of the birds, looking at the komorebi, which means dappled light that is filtered through the leaves of a tree canopy. “Shinrinyoku leaves you refreshed, gives a change of scene, and allows you to forget terrible things.”
In Japan and elsewhere, forest-bathing has been embraced as a hot new wellness trend. You can, if you want, have a guru lead you in meditation in a pine-scented forest, let you incorporate some exercise and lead you through a sensual journey in the woods but you can also do it by yourself, as all you need is a forest and yourself. We highly recommend it at least one a week, and there is almost a forest everywhere nearby.
TEAM IRMA travelled to LANA in Southern Tirol, where we experienced the beauty of nature in the woods and along the vineyards. More tips on how to go about forest bathing.
-Look for a perfect trail, not too monotone, with different kind of trees and , paths.
-Areas that have different smells maybe through plants or Moos, or different soils are more effective for the brain as the difference of scents stimulates and relaxes your mind.
– Make sure you are in solitude rather than with a bunch of hikers. Solitude is key and makes you feel at ease and confident with yourself, feel not observed by others, stop when you feel like it, run or jump if you like, whistle along with the birds or just sing to yourself.
-Do some Yoga or Tai Chi when you feel like it, some breathing exercises, or just run, jump or walk really slow. Let your energy flow as it feels.
-If you have the chance to travel to Japan this is our favourite spot to do forest bathing almost by yourself: Naruko Gorge, in Miyagi Prefecture, in the Ou Mountains. The gorge is an explosion of colour in autumn, and in the nearby hot spring town of Naruko Onsen, you can even bathe – for real – in a natural open-air hot spring called Mori no Yu, or “Forest Bath”. Or nearby Tokyo: Visit the Okutama and Chichibu areas, both within spitting distance of Tokyo but so heavily forested you’ll quickly forget the city.