Make Stress Melt Away with the Help of Shinrin Therapy

Getting Lost in Nature Really Can Provide Therapeutic Benefits!

Shinrin therapy, also known as forest bathing, is a practice that has been used in Japan for more than 30 years. Now, it’s becoming more popular in the United States. It involves leisurely forest walks, and it happens to have great benefits.

How Does Shinrin Therapy Reduce Stress?

Shinrin therapy is a way of unplugging from the world around you. It gives you the opportunity to focus on nature and relax. For some people, this practice can last as long as two hours. However, you can still see the benefits of this therapy if you only participate for 15 minutes.

The forest, or another outdoor space, can be a calming environment. When you’re outside, you have the opportunity to step away from your worries and concerns for the day. You focus on walking and taking in the world around you, and you become more present.

When you practice Shinrin therapy, you should leave behind your distractions. This includes physical objects, like your phone, but also mental blocks, like your thoughts. Don’t let your problems distract you from this relaxing practice.

People who are known as forest bathers intentionally go outside. They make this effort because they know the power of nature and how it can provide relaxation.

How to Take Part in This Practice

It’s suggested that you don’t bring your phone or camera along with you on these walks. This will help you to stay focused on the experience and less involved with life’s distractions.

You should also leave your thoughts behind. Clear your mind.

Try to focus on wandering. You don’t need to come up with an endpoint. Let your body find the end of the path.

As you walk, take a few moments to focus on the environment. This might mean taking in the bird sounds surrounding you, or looking at fallen leaves on the ground. Truly experience being present in this moment.

If you decide to practice Shinrin therapy with a friend or two, try to remain quiet while you’re walking. This will keep your focus on the practice.

How Is Shinrin Therapy Different from Other Walks?

When you take part in Shinrin therapy, you’re focusing on the space around you. It’s very peaceful and relaxing.

When compared to urban walks, Shinrin therapy delivers 12% decreased cortisol levels. This is because urban walks involve so many sensory influences, such as cars, lights, buildings, and noises. It can be hard to truly focus during an urban walk.

In Shinrin therapy, you can concentrate on the trees, quiet sounds, and the beauty around you. This is much more relaxing than other types of walks. You won’t be distracted by the busyness going on around you because there isn’t any in the forest.

Health Benefits of Shinrin Therapy

The main health benefit of Shinrin therapy is reduced stress levels. Shinrin therapy decreases your cortisol levels by 12%, reduces your blood pressure by 1.4%, and improves your heart rate by 6%.

In addition, you’ll get the benefits of walking and exercise. You’ll also take in the fresh air as you walk through the forest.

You’ll get other benefits too, such as:

  • Increased focus

  • Improved mood

  • Increased happiness

  • Strengthened immune system

  • Increased energy

  • Better sleep

Shinrin therapy, or forest bathing, is an effective way to relieve stress. It’s much more calming than any other walks you might go on. It’s a good way to relax and take in the beauty around you.

John Muir explains the necessity to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature in this quote: “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”

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Dr. James Leonette