'Forest Bathing' Is The Next Big Thing in Beauty
Spending time relaxing in forests, otherwise known as “forest bathing,” is a new back-to-basics spa treatment that’s all the latest rage.
Forest bathing comes from the ancient Japanese tradition called Shinrin-yoku, which basically means chilling out amongst the trees with a mindful awareness of your surroundings. When done correctly, forest bathing can have great restorative healing for both the mind and body, lowering stress levels and blood pressure. Plus, when you breathe in all that wonderful fresh air, phytoncides (or wood essential oils) can induce the release of serotonin.
So, with all these awesome benefits, it’s no surprise that spas across the globe, including Sweden’s Treehotel and Arizona’s L’Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa, are offering forest bathing treatments. And it’s also not a surprise that supermodels like, Karlie Kloss and Gisele Bundchen, are relishing in the new treatment. Anything to stay beautiful, right?
According to Amos Clifford, the founder of the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides & Programs, forest bathing “is slow, relaxed, and mindful. It is about connecting with the life of the forest through our five senses. It is about falling in love with the world and with our place in it.”
The best thing about forest bathing is you don’t have to go to a fancy hotel to reap its benefits. Clifford told Style.com that he recommends finding a forest or park with a canopy, and a large loopy trail, that features a diverse ecosystem. Leave your electronics behind, and then “simply wander and enjoy sensory experiences—like the view of a stream, the sounds of birds, the changing aromas as you move along the trail, the texture and tastes of the air you are breathing, and the many patterns and forms of the world around you.”
Ideally, the hike should last two hours, and you shouldn’t aim to burn calories, but to “move mindfully.” Clifford suggests forest bathing should be a weekly experience, and though the results might not be immediate, “you may feel a wonderful, subtle energy flowing through you, or just notice that you are more relaxed about things.”
Scientists can’t explain why a hike is so beneficial to one’s health, Clifford says that when we slow down and really pay attention to our sensory experience “our bodies very quickly find their way home, to a rebalanced and revitalized state.”
We like anything that involves connecting with and appreciating the beauty of nature.