In this day and age, it’s become harder and harder to unplug from technology and enjoy a day outdoors. Sometimes even the act of visualizing spending the day in nature can be stress relieving. In Japan, they’ve recognized the importance of connecting with nature for our well being and have dedicated a whole medical practice to it called shinrin-yoku, or “Forest Bathing.
Trees as Medicine
Since the 1980’s the Japanese medical community have amassed research showing the benefits of spending a prolonged amount of time in the forest. Trees actually secrete oil that can be absorbed by our skin and respiratory system, which scientists believe is a crucial factor to how forest bathing reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the immune system.
A Form of Therapy
Unlike taking a hike or walk, the point of forest bathing is to absorb and connect with nature just by being in its presence. To do so, practicers of shinrin-yoku suggest you tap into your senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. After spending a good amount of time in nature, people report feeling an improvement in mood, increased energy level, and better sleeping patterns.
Become One With Nature
While all of this sounds amazing, you may be wondering where you can get a shinrin-yoku experience outside of Japan. Luckily, the practice is slowly making its way over to the United States. At the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, they offer a well-being package that embraces the shinrin-yoku movement. Guests stay in newly renovated Adirondack-style lodges surrounded by a serene landscape of mountains, lakes, and forests, and are provided with a trail map and instructions to get the full forest bathing experience. Then, after a day of soaking in over 16 miles of wooded trails you can return to your cabin and enjoy a relaxing aromatherapy tension relief massage. For full details on this experience call the Stonewall Resort at (888) 278-8150 and ask about their Close to Nature package.