In 1982, Japan made shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” a part of its national health program. The aim was to briefly reconnect people with nature in the simplest way possible.
Go into the woods.
Walk or sit. Breathe deeply.
Do nothing. Accomplish nothing.
Be at peace.
Forest bathing was Japan’s medically sanctioned method of unplugging before there were smartphones to unplug from.
"The rise of indoor living has paralleled the rise of sedentary living, which has also paralleled the rise in chronic illness ....one out of three Americans has a chronic illness. The rates of obesity and depression and anxiety are way higher in children, in particular, than they should be.”
The Center for Nature and Health, Oakland, CA Dr. Nooshin Razani
Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.
The benefits of Shinrin-yoku noted in studies include:
Boosted immune system
Reduced blood pressure
Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
Increased energy level
Dr. Jennifer Mackinnon, OWLT Board Member (Attending Physician, Froedtert | Associate Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin), takes you on a walk at Spirit Lake Nature Preserve to share some of the wellness benefits of Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku).