A Forest Bath

Forest bathing appears to be an increasingly popular wellness trend. I had naively assumed that it involved lying on a leaf strewn floor beneath a canopy of trees whilst meditating deeply. Not quite, for it turns out it's evolved from a Japanese relaxation technique known as shinrin-yoku where you indulge yourself in a sensory experience amongst the trees.

The Forestry England website describes it as breathing deeeply whilst quietly observing nature. The National Trust has a web page with forest bathing tips on it where it emphasises the need to focus on the woodland around you whilst perhaps wandering slowly through it, touching tree trunks. The Woodland Trust lists the benefits of a woodland stroll and describes forest bathing as an immersive experience involving touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing.

We have just returned from our regular summer stay in the Lake District where we envelop ourselves in a cabin at the edge of woodland overlooking the Langdale Beck. If two hours of forest bathing is of significant benefit to health and well-being, imagine how good I feel after a week of deep plunging.

Yes I have touched tree bark, observed birds and the insects that flourish there.  We have trodden carefully to avoid intruding on nature. Our perseverance has been rewarded with red squirrels crossing our path and regular sightings of a heron fishing or swooping through the air like a 21st century pterodactyl. 

My knees are sore from long walks on the fells but my mind is clear (not empty as some might suspect) and I feel both energised and de-stressed. The weather has been glorious and I am reposed and calm, waiting for whatever this week brings.


Marksgran said…
Sounds like you've had a wonderful time. I've no idea what I thought forest bathing was but I do love to walk in a woodland with the sun dappling through the leaves. I feel relaxed just thinking about it!
Caree Risover said…
Yes, it seems something we’ve been doing for years is actually recognised therapy
Treaders said…
What a beautiful spot. I can see that that would be very therapeutic!
I grew up on 26 acres in Texas and have gone back many times to just "walk the land". I always feel better after a short walk in nature. I need to get out more for some short hikes on nature trails. Does a body and soul good!
Caree Risover said…
Agreed Treaders and RetirementCoffeeshop. It's strange isn't it how the beauty of nature is somehow absorbed by us and is so therapeutic; I guess the idea of breathing deeply whilst observing the surroundings is for total immersion

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