Shinrin-Yoku: The Power of Forest Bathing

Did you know that the average American spends more then 90% of their time indoors?

One of our goals for Compass is to get individuals outside for that particular reason! We know that some days, you have to be inside and at a desk. But guess what? Forest Bathing shows that you can still gain lasting benefits from nature in just three days of Forest Bathing! Shinrin-Yoku has been my inspiration for choosing some of the most amazing outdoor location in the world. I always knew that being in the sun and among the trees was my happy place, but the research around Shinrin-Yoku has helped me to understand the scientific benefits.

IMG_7176.jpg

In Japan, several companies are embracing a holistic approach to mental health through Shinrin-Yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means forest and yoku means bath. Imagine if it was a requirement at your job to take three-days off of work every six months to be guided through one of the designated “Forest Bathing” locations. That is exactly how Japan is working to promote health in the work place.

IMG_7219.jpg

Shinrin-Yoku consists of being led through a forest, using all five senses to take in the atmosphere and being guided through a meditation. Just like yoga, you focus on each step, each smell, all the sounds around you. It is a way of immersing yourself completely in the moment.

There have been incredible benefits discovered by Forest Bathing such as countering illness including cancer, gastric ulcers, strokes, ulcers, anxiety and stress. Japanese scientists are even suggesting that Forest Bathing should be considered one of the best non-medical therapies. They are finding that the companies that integrate Forest Bathing have less reported sick days.

There is still so much research coming out about the benefits of being in nature. But what the most exciting is that the positive impacts of forest bathing can occur in as quickly as two-hours. And in just that short amount of time, the effects last for months after.

So how can you do forest bathing?

IMG_7612.jpg

First, leave your phone at home. Find a local forest and tune in. Focus on each of your steps. Recognize the sounds that are around you. Take in the smells. Terpenes, or organic smells from plants, have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer! Allow yourself at least an hour just to be out among the trees and recognize how it affects you for the rest of your day. 


Kelsey Stoll