Shinrin-Yoku: How The Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Can Improve Your Health

Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing

Apart from stress, forest bathing can also help to reduce anxiety, depression, anger issues, impulsive decision-making and insomnia and also improves mental clarity. According to one 2021 study, nature exposure helps to improve blood pressure, cognitive function, brain activity, sleep, physical activity and mental health. It also helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic disease. One 2019 study reveals that Shinrin-yoku plays a crucial role in significantly enhancing human physiology and psychological health. Research shows that this practice can have the following beneficial effects on our health and well-being –

  • Increases activity of human natural killer cells (NK
  • Decreases blood pressure, heart rate & stress hormones
  • Enhances activity of parasympathetic nerves & reduces activity of sympathetic nerves
  • Increases levels of serum adiponectin & dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate
  • Decreases fatigue, anxiety, confusion, depression and anger
  • Boosts vigor and energy along with other psychological effects

Apart from these, empirical research has found that there are many other positive psychological and physiological effects of Shinrin-Yoku. It helps to prevent diseases, release healthy hormones, allows stressed areas of the brain to calm down, helps to skip burnout and boosts overall well-being. Not only will you be less sick, you will be able to recover faster from illness or injury, have healthy lungs and heart and experience better memory and focus. 

Here are some other general benefits of forest bathing –

  • Builds a positive body image
  • Boosts self-confidence, self-esteem & self-awareness
  • Improves emotional intelligence
  • Enhances social skills and improves intimate relationships
  • Helps to avoid or control unwanted, intrusive thoughts
  • Reduces anger, jealousy and other negative emotions
  • Decreases self-doubt, insecurities and fears
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases ability to cope with addictions and cravings
  • Develops empathy and compassion
  • Better decision making skills and mental clarity
  • Helps experience happiness, mindfulness and inner peace

Related: 5 Things You Might Try to Improve Your Mental Health

One 2013 study also shows that apart from mental, emotional and physical benefits, Shinrin-yoku can also be spiritually beneficial as well. “Benefits included increased inspiration and feelings of connectedness to a broader reality, both important for spiritual well-being,” added the study. It positively affects how we value nature and makes us feel more responsible towards our natural environment. It inspires a sense of awe, connectedness, purpose and “faith in a larger reality.”

What forest bathing is not

Shinrin-Yoku is not like hiking, camping or taking a trip to the woods to chill and relax. It is not a power walk through the forest. It is about slowing down your mind and yourself so that you can fully immerse yourself in nature and allow your senses to experience the environment surrounding you. However, it should not be confused with hiking or trekking which can be more exciting and thrilling than relaxing. Shinrin-Yoku is less challenging and more about healing. It is neither about exploring wilderness and identifying plants, flowers and animals or their benefits. It is about connecting with nature. 

Related: 5 Brain Benefits Of Hiking According To Science

Moreover, it should also not be considered as an alternative to medical treatment even though it is a form of therapy and is proven to have significant health benefits. This practice can help us boost our mental and physical well-being but it should not be used as a replacement for medical diagnosis and treatment by health professionals. Forest bathing should not be rushed. It is a meditative and leisurely activity where you wander through the forest and engage with the natural world using your senses.

Shinrin-Yoku: How The Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Can Improve Your Health
Shinrin-Yoku: How The Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Can Improve Your Health

Forest bathing is soul soothing

Nature exposure promotes a positive and healthy connection with nature and heals our mind, body and spirit. This nature-based practice is a preventative measure which is highly beneficial for our physiological and psychological health. Even if you are unable to stroll in a forest, implementing the healing strategies in your local park or any urban area with enough trees or a lake can help you experience the beneficial effects. All you need to do is “stop and smell the roses”.

Shinrin-Yoku can not only help you experience inner peace and calm, but also make you happier, feel less stressed and build stronger relationships.

Related: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret That’ll Transform Your Outlook On Life

Japanese Art Forest Bathing Pin
Shinrin-Yoku: How The Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Can Improve Your Health
Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Pin
Shinrin-Yoku: How The Japanese Art Of Forest Bathing Can Improve Your Health
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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts