Our natural instincts tell us that spending time in forests is good for us, but we now have scientific evidence of it! Recent Japanese research suggests that the practice of Shinrin-yoku (literally meaning ‘forest bathing’) provides an array of mental and physical health benefits (Li, 2010; Lee et.al., 2007; Morita. et.al, 2007). Shirin-yoku constitutes of mindfulness practices whilst absorbing the atmosphere of the trees. In field experiments based upon tests of human immune systems, Li (2010, p.16) found that forest bathing trips not only reduce stress and blood pressure levels, but also significantly increase anti-cancerous Natural Killer Cell activity due to breathing in phytoncides which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Find out more here or check out a selection of books about forest bathing here.
where to try forest bathing
You can try forest bathing in any wooded area that inspires you. We have picked out a few forests along the route which might be good places to start!