“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Shinrin-yoku: The Simplicity of ‘Forest Bathing’
This Japanese practice of PREVENTIVE health is all about the significance of understanding how the human body responds to the natural world.
Think about what it feels like to be in the forest— to be surrounded by ancient giants with bright, soft leaves and deep protective roots. You hear the water running through the veins of the earth and each small creature kept safe and alive in the pristine expanse of green canopy. What can you touch? Smell? This is the essence of shinrin-yoku, or the intentional act of becoming immersed and finding repose in the quiet embrace of mother earth.
Forest bathing is not exactly what it sounds like— no bathtubs involved. As a translation from Japanese, ‘bathing’ refers to the act of spending time within nature and allowing this experience to strengthen our connection to liminal space and transformation.
Research in this area is ongoing, though we know that there are numerous physical and mental health benefits to nature therapy. At this point we’re seeing positive responses in hypertension, diabetes and general stress.
Here at Rooted in Sound, we’re offering the opportunity to try forest bathing with one of our guides. We want to help you incite the senses, activate the mind and find tranquility. We will bring focus and meaning to the moments we spend in each natural environment. In Pittsburgh we’re fortunate enough to live in a city that maintains beautiful and wild public parks, perfect for getting lost among the trees. Let’s have an adventure and step out of the urban to find serenity waiting for us in a thoughtful walk through the woods. Embrace biophilia.
References and Helpful Links
Don’t just take our word for it— the research is out there. Educate yourself. Knowledge is empowering.
This is a fantastic article by Atlantic contributor, Rahawa Haile— https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/06/forest-bathing/532068/
Science is sexy— https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580555/