With a focus on slowing down and awakening the senses, this restorative wellness practice involves a series of guided invitations to help relax, slow down, become present and make contact with nature (no actual bathing involved). Forest bathing originated in Japan, where it is called ‘shinrin yoku’, which literally translates as taking in the forest atmosphere – immersion in nature.
Alex Gaut from the Conservation Council SA is a Forest Bathing Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. As the first certified Forest Bathing Guide in South Australia, Alex’s work embraces an environmental psychology/evidence-based approach to nature connection, specialising in nature and wellbeing.
The benefits are clear.
Research shows that there are a range of benefits from spending time in nature for mental, physical and social health and wellbeing. Benefits include: boosting the immune system, improving mood and self-esteem, decreasing blood pressure, restoring attention, and reducing headaches, stress, anxiety and fatigue, which contribute to improved sleep.
“It [nature] can influence the perception of our health, our actual physical health and our mental health. Basically nature is an optimum space for human beings…”
Alex provides a wonderful introduction to the benefits of shinrin yoku or forest bathing and being in nature, as part of a 15 minute radio interview: http://radioadelaide.org.au/2017/10/08/delight-in-nature-with-forest-bathing/
More information about shinrin yoku can also be found at the Conservation Council SA’s Forest Bathing site.