Branch Out
Women's Health South Africa|September 2017

For decades, the Japanese have used “forest bathing” – mindful time spent among trees – to recharge their bodies and still their minds. Take a leaf out of their book and nature-walk your stress away

Gemma Hartley

We’ve always known that being in nature has serious health benefits. But the Japanese practice of walking mindfully through a quiet forest (called Shinrin-yoku or, roughly translated, “taking in the forest atmosphere”) is gaining steam in the US and Europe, with forest retreats opening and guided sessions taking off. And now, South Africa is entering the glade. The idea: research shows spending QT with foliage in a state of heightened awareness – versus just blindly traipsing through it – can melt stress, dispel negative thoughts and even fortify the immune system.

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