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Shinrin Yoku, the benefits of forest bathing

Stress, anxiety and fatigue are common ailments, but there is a practice that may offer a natural and accessible solution to these problems: shinrin-yoku. This Japanese method, also known as forest bathing, involves spending time in nature to improve health and well-being. Studies have shown that this practice can reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and much more. From North America to Europe to Asia, more and more people are discovering the benefits of this simple but powerful practice.

Nature has always been a source of healing, and shinrin-yoku reminds us of this ancient truth. What exactly is this practice? And how can it help us find inner peace and physical vitality?

In this article, we explore the origins and benefits of this increasingly popular practice, and give you practical advice on how to try it yourself.

What is shinrin-yoku?

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that literally means “forest bath”. It is a wellness practice that involves walking in nature and consciously connecting with the natural environment using all of your senses.

Shinrin-yoku was developed in Japan in the 1980s in response to environmental degradation and increasing stress levels in society. Studies have shown that the practice reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep quality, strengthens the immune system and promotes better mental health.

To practice shinrin-yoku, one simply walks slowly through nature and is fully present in the moment. It is recommended to walk aimlessly, observe the details of nature, smell the scents, listen to the sounds, touch the textures, and taste the flavours if possible. The practice of shinrin-yoku is often guided by a qualified instructor, but it can also be practiced individually.

What is a forest bath?

It is not a bath in the literal sense of the word, but rather an immersion in nature by walking slowly and observing the details of the environment, listening to the sounds of nature, touching the textures of plants and trees, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the natural smells. This practice involves disconnecting from digital distractions and focusing on the present moment to fully experience the benefits of nature. Researchers have studied the benefits of this practice and found that forest bathing can help reduce blood pressure, improve mood and concentration, boost the immune system and reduce stress levels.

Why practice shinrin-yoku?

Shinrin-yoku, also known as silvotherapy, offers many physical and mental health benefits.

  • Stress reduction: Studies have shown that Shinrin-yoku reduces stress by lowering levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and by improving sleep quality.
  • Improved mental health: Regular practice is beneficial to mental health. It reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety and improves mood and concentration.
  • Strengthens the immune system: Research has shown that the volatile organic compounds produced by trees, called phytocides, can improve immune function and the production of natural killer (NK) cells.
  • Increases the production of feel-good hormones: The presence of phytocides in forest air, volatile organic compounds produced by trees, can stimulate the production of feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain, thereby reducing stress and improving mood.
  • Reduced blood pressure: Drill bathing helps to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Improved quality of life: Nature walks provide a sense of well-being that improves quality of life and overall satisfaction by reducing symptoms of fatigue, irritability and insomnia.
  • Improved creativity and productivity: Silvotherapy can improve creativity and productivity by helping to clarify ideas and stimulate the imagination.

What if you could immerse yourself in nature to reduce stress and improve your health? Shinrin-yoku is a simple and effective practice for improving physical and mental health by reconnecting with nature.

Shinrin-yoku, an anti-stress ally

Many studies have shown that spending time in nature can have positive effects on mental, physical and emotional well-being. When we are surrounded by trees and plants, we are exposed to essential oils called phytocides, which are produced by plants to protect themselves against diseases and pests. These oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can boost our immune system and improve our overall health. In nature, we are also exposed to natural sunlight and darkness at night, which can help regulate our internal body clock, called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is essential for regulating our sleep and wakefulness. By being exposed to natural light during the day and darkness at night, our bodies can better understand when it is time to wake up and when it is time to rest.

In addition, simply walking in nature can reduce stress by lowering the level of the stress hormone cortisol. By taking a slow walk, observing the sights, sounds, colours and textures of nature, we can slow our heart and breathing rates, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

The practice of shinrin-yoku can also promote meditation and mindfulness. By focusing on the sensations we feel in our bodies and being aware of our surroundings, we can calm our minds and feel more present in the moment. This form of meditation in nature can help reduce anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.

Finally, the practice of shinrin yoku can encourage social connection and community. By spending time in nature with other people, we can connect with them in a meaningful way and strengthen our social relationships. This form of social connection can help reduce social isolation and depression.

By taking time to connect with nature, we can find the peace and tranquility we need to live a healthy and balanced life. Practising this gentle therapeutic method is beneficial for improving your mental and physical health by regulating our internal body clock, reducing stress and anxiety, purifying the air we breathe and encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.

How can you strengthen your immune system with the forest bath?

The immune system is our natural defence against disease and infection. It is therefore important to keep it healthy to avoid illness and infection. Studies have shown that the practice of shinrin yoku can strengthen the immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells.

We explained that when we spend time in nature we are exposed to substances called phytocides, which are produced by plants to protect themselves against bacteria and insects. Phytocides also stimulate the production of immune cells called NK cells, which are responsible for fighting cancer cells and infected cells. Being outdoors, we are also more exposed to the sun, which can increase vitamin D levels. This vitamin is important for bone and immune health.

In addition, chronic stress can deplete the immune system, which can increase the risk of infection and disease. Practicing shinrin yoku can help reduce stress by promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Finally, the practice of Shinrin Yoku can encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, which can help strengthen the immune system and have beneficial effects on quality of life. Regular exercise can help boost the immune system by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. It also improves sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety, increasing the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones, and improving heart and respiratory health. Healthy, nutritious foods can also help boost the immune system by providing necessary vitamins and nutrients.


In summary, shinrin yoku is the practice of spending time in nature to promote relaxation, reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. By spending time in nature, we stimulate the production of immune cells that protect our bodies. Shinrin Yoku helps reduce stress by promoting relaxation and stress relief, and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle by providing a simple method of regular exercise. Combined with a healthy and nutritious diet, this method strengthens the immune system and improves physical and mental health.

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