Forest bathing is the translation of the Japanese term shinrinyoku – shine in meaning forest and you meaning bath. It is the wellness experience of soaking up the environment of the forest, using all five of your senses, says Mayumi Kataoka, certified forest therapy guide and nature photographer.
The aim of forest bathing is not to get your heart rate up and exercise like you might during a bushwalk, but rather to slow down and relax, explains Mayumi.
“Shinrin-yoku focuses on connecting with nature and feelings of relaxation instead of walking from point A to point B with the purpose of the exercise,” she says.
“When you slow down, your sense of awareness opens up and you can engage more with nature.”
Shinrin-yoku originated in Japan in the 1980s. It was a government-led response to combat the negative effects of the tech boom that city dwellers were experiencing, such as depression, aches, pains, fatal heart attacks and strokes.
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