10 Benefits of Forest Bathing
It’s an undeniable fact that our modern world is getting busier by the day. We live in a world that’s time-poor – demanding work schedules and a lifestyle that connects us to online 24/7 – which often leads to individuals burning out. By 2050, it’s predicted that two thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average American spends 93% of their life indoors.
So, what’s to be done? For years, the Japanese have embraced a form of therapy called ‘Forest Bathing’ or shinrin-yoku. We’re not talking about water bathing. Nor is it supposed to be strenuous. Forest bathing is simply about immersing yourself in forest landscapes and has a ton of benefits.
There’s nothing quite like a gentle walk through forests to banish that urban stress built up by tough work schedules and never-ending list of responsibilities. At least for a little while, these rural landscapes can help you forget about your worries. A 2017 study found that forest bathing helped lower negative moods, tension-anxiety and anger.
Helps relieve pain
Believe it or not, but another study has found that forest bathing can be beneficial in reducing pain, particularly chronic neck pain. So, if you spend most of your working hours hunched over a comfortable, a little forest bathing can do wonders in relieving the symptoms.
There’s fresh air
Even if you live in the cleanest city in the world, you’re never escape exposure to toxic pollution, whether its from factories or cars. Giving your body a break and treating it to some clean rural air has many benefits on the body.
A study by Public Health in 2007 found that spending time in forest environments was effective in dealing with negative emotions. The controlled study almost 500 participants found that depression and hostility were reduced. Regular exposure to forests helps regulate dopamine in the brain and participants were found to sleep better.
A break away from urban environments helps reduce stress, regulate chemicals in the brain and help you sleep better, so it will come as no surprise that when you’re back at work or home, you’ll be more productive.
Regulating blood sugar
One of the biggest benefits of forest bathing is the reduction on blood glucose levels due to hormone secretion. High blood sugar I known to cause several different types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Who knew regular walks in the forest could help prevent cancer?
Helps improve energy levels
Just 80 minutes of forest bathing has many more benefits on the body including a reduced pulse and improved energy levels.
We all know to well that anxiety levels can skyrocket in urban areas. The good news is regular forest bathing reduces the ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline hormone and increases the amount of dopamine in the brain which makes you significantly happier and much less anxious.
Become more creative
A study by a psychology professor at the University of Utah found that participants had more than a 50% improvement in creative problem solving after just a few days immersed in the wilderness and a lack of modern technology.
Reconnect with nature
Other than all the health benefits, forest bathing simply gives you a way to connect with nature again. The built-up cities we live in have few green spaces. Heading to a forest nearby can bring your in close contact with flora and fauna aplenty.
Don’t have any forest nearby? Looking for a little forest bathing with companions? Every thought about visiting Northern Thailand? We run a unique Chiang Mai bootcamp where you kick start your exercise regime, learn about nutrition, discover the sights of Northern Thailand and immerse yourself in the lush surrounding forests. You’ll return home feeling less anxious, in better shape and with energy ready to tackle what life throws at you.