Forest Bathing: A Beginner's Guide

Amy hugging a very tall tree at the edge of the woods

Have you ever woken up and started a day not realizing that this day would include a conversation that would change your life forever? I was recently introduced to forest bathing, and my life is on a new path now.

According to National Geographic (essentially the godfather of global knowledge), forest bathing originated in Japan in the early 1980s with the name Shinrin-yoku (translated on the Google to forest-well). There were a few purposes for this movement; it tore people away from the new era of technology taking hold while promoting interest in Japan’s forests (sparking interest to invest in protecting them). Twenty-four forests participated as hosts for people to come and bathe. People gravitated to this movement, and it grew to be a global phenomenon. Forests all over the world are now bathing people every day.

How do I sign up for a forest bath, you may wonder? It is simple—you take a walk in the woods. Welcome to your new life's path. You can now forest bathe within your own community. I support you in this endeavor, no soap needed. I walked through the woods in my backyard this morning to find my cat: let's call it my morning bath. 

When a special name is attached to a basic activity it can really bring out the magic that exists in that activity. I stand outside barefoot on a regular basis – then I found out this is called earthing. Now it's like I am leveling up when I forget to grab shoes on my way out of the house. Really, I am performing the act of earthing. Forest bathing is a way to level up your time with trees. You are not simply taking a walk, getting some exercise, a break from the people in your home, or avoiding the tasks that keep staring at you by hiding in the trees. No, you are in fact engaging in the act of forest bathing, You have leveed up. 

So get out there! The science shows there are physiological benefits from walking in the woods. In fact, when forest bathing originated in Japan, studies were done on the people who bathed. The results showed lower blood pressure, lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rates and more, compared with people in city environments. In case it did not occur to you before that a walk in the woods can feel great, now we know to call it forest bathing – and guess what – it is great! 

Contributor

Amy Pierce

Executive Director – Business Development

Amy brings a love for adventure, fun, and food. She's often referred to as the glue here at Taste for Life—holding us together across our publishing divisions. A few of her favorite things are skiing, cooking, hiking, watching movies, gardening, and hanging out with her family.