Forest Bathing

Forest. Bathing.
I have been bathing myself in the healing energy of forests for years but called it things like woods walk therapy. I recently learned that in Japan walking in the woods for healing is called “shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing.” And it turns out that science is now proving what my intuition already knew, forest bathing reduces stress hormones (cortisol), lowers blood pressure and heart rate. For me, the longer I walk in the woods, the more comfortable I feel in my own skin.

From a recent backpacking trip this June with my husband.  It was a cold morning and the lakes were covered by a thick blanket of fog that rose as the sun came out.  Luscious forest bathing time!

From a recent backpacking trip this June with my husband. It was a cold morning and the lakes were covered by a thick blanket of fog that rose as the sun came out. Luscious forest bathing time!

It also looks like my penchant for gardening barefoot because it feels so darn good is now being backed up by science too. By connecting to the earth’s energy, which is now being called “grounding” or “earthing” we are exposing ourselves to electrons that can act as powerful antioxidants and affect thyroid function and blood sugar.

Ever since my kids got old enough so that I could exercise outside without getting a babysitter, I have had zero desire to join a gym and exercise inside ( group exercise like yoga, tai chi and dancing being exceptions). Simply put, I feel better exercising outside than inside. If you have noticed a pattern here you won’t be surprised that science is now backing up what my mind and body already knew – people that exercise outside report more revitalization and energy and less anger, tension and depression.  The times in my life when I have had the least free time to spend outside have always been the times I have felt the most out-of-sorts.  Now armed with all of this new scientific information, I know why my body & mind would crave time outside in the woods.  Apparently my feelings of having a nature deficit were not random but smart, powerful messages.

What things do you “know” from experience that science is finally catching up with?

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