Nature is good for us. In Japan where more than half the population is stressed, they advocate a practice called Shinrin-yoku, translated as forest bathing. Developed in Japan during the 1980s it has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. If a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.* Paraphrasing John Muir: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” I’m taking a leap of faith that we experience similar physical, emotional and mental wellbeing benefits with a garden “bath.”
I had the pleasure recently of forest bathing at Lost Lake near Mt. Hood on a perfect early October day and felt the relaxing results for days. I also get a similar feeling of stillness and connectedness in my garden. If you don’t have a garden, take advantage of the many public gardens in Oregon (click here for a list).
Take a garden “bath.” Go into a garden. Walk slowly. Breathe deeply. Open all your senses. Ease into happiness.
To learn more about “Forest Bathing” visit these sites: *http://www.shinrin-yoku.org, http://www.hphpcentral.com/article/forest-bathing; http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/wellness/Take-Two-Hours-of-Pine-Forest-and-Call-Me-in-the-Morning.html; and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793347/.