Winter Wellness Mini Series
The Japanese practice of shirin-yoku is also described as ‘forest bathing’ or ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’. Many studies have found that forest bathing has a wide range of health benefits and is a powerful way to support our wellbeing, this is partly thanks to the essential oils found in the leaves of forest trees known as phytoncides.
When you breathe in the fresh forest air, you are inhaling it’s natural aromatherapy. Pay special attention to trees such as conifers, spruce, cedars and pine trees as these emit high levels of phytoncides (even more reason to start tree hugging!).
Benefits of Forest Bathing:
Has been shown to boost our mood, allowing us to experience more joy and welcome creativity.
Activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to improve sleep quality and strengthen our immune system.
Helps to promote mental clarity and a sense of wellbeing, while decreasing anxiety, fatigue and mental confusion.
Reduces stress hormone production, helping to lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Tips on how to practice forest bathing:
Leave your phone behind and begin by bringing your awareness to your breath.
Slowly begin to walk through the forest, following your nose and gently inviting your curiosity to guide you. Pay attention to the weight of each foot as you walk, it may be helpful to take off your shoes and feel the earth beneath you.
Use your five senses to soak in the forest atmosphere. Try noticing the earthy smell of the forest's natural aromatherapy, listening to the birds sing, placing your hands on the trunk of a tree, observing the vibrant colours of the forest and tasting the freshness of the air.
Not enough time to head to the forest? Turn your home into a sanctuary for your senses instead. This can be as simple as filling your home with plants or diffusing essential oils which contain high levels of phytoncides such as, atlas cedarwood, black spruce and pine.
Bring the forest into your home with our forest blend suggestions below.
- 4 drops of grapefruit
- 3 drops of patchouli
- 2 drops of vetiver
- 2 drops of myrhh
Forest at first light:
- 4 drops frankincense
- 3 drops lemon
- 2 drops atlas cedarwood
- 3 drops ylang ylang
- 3 drops patchouli
- 4 drops bergamot
- 1 drop geranium
What are you waiting for? Go and get lost amongst the trees!!
References: “Forest Bathing Is an Evidence-Based Wellness Practice”. Nature and Forest Therapy Guides, www.natureandforesttherapy.org/about/science. Battaglia, Salvatore. Aromatree: a Holistic Guide to Understanding and Using Aromatherapy. Black Pepper Creative, 2019. “Forest Bathing Is an Evidence-Based Wellness Practice.” Nature and Forest Therapy Guides, www.natureandforesttherapy.org/about/science.
Li, D. Q. (2019). Into the Forest. Penguin Books.