The Japanese have been advocates of nature healing, developing a therapy in the 1980’s known as Shinrin Yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Therefore, shinrin-yoku encompasses bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. There was a dual purpose of this therapy – to offer ecological therapy and promote and protect Japan’s forests.
In the 1990’s, many researchers advocated the benefits of forest bathing, reinforcing the opinion that nature heals.
Misunderstood as an exercise, forest bathing includes no hiking, no running. The first step involves leaving our digital friends, our phones, cameras behind and embarking on a journey that promotes mindfulness and being present in the moment. Once you begin, walk around, pause from time to time to embrace the flora and fauna, listen to the birdsong, rustling of trees, feel the sensation of walking slowly through the forest.
Benefits of Shinrin Yoku
Forest bathing is advocated heavily as part of preventative measures in Japan. Research indicates that Shinrin Yoku improves mood levels, our focus, reduces stress levels and improves sleep quality. With our fast paced lives, we tend to live with stress, that inturn can lead to mental health issues like depression, anxiety and insomnia. Mental health diseases can eventually lead to physical problems, such as high blood pressure, loss of appetite, muscle tension and lowered immunity
Being in nature improves our holistic health because our cortisol levels are reduced, building focus and attention. On a spiritual level, the human-nature connect helps us in refocusing energy, reminding us of the things that truly matter in life and aid us in chasing the material aspects of life.
Dharana Wellness Centre, a wellness retreat near Mumbai, focuses on holistic health which includes physical, mental and spiritual balance. One of the new programmes introduced at our eco wellness retreat is Dharana Rasayana Retreat which focuses on resetting your mental wellbeing through holistic methodologies such as Ayurveda, Dietetics, Exercise Physiology and conflict resolution. As an Ayurvedic healing center in India, Dharana combines the use of an integrative, modern approach including Modern diagnostics with traditional practices like Yoga and Ayurveda to ensure a sustainable wellness journey.