Shinrin-yoku - Bathe In The Forest. It's Good For Your Health!
I love the work of Professor Yoshifumi Miyazaki, the world's leading researcher and expert of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). I'm currently reading his book and find it truly speaking to me.
The 'back to nature' theory understands that being 'healthy' no longer means just being free from disease. His understanding...
'Its a state in which the individual can fully exhibit the abilities he or she has. Or in other words, the state of being healthy is relative to the individual rather than being absolute. Being healthy is also a process....it is the way in which we live'
So, according to the Professor, even though we are mostly urban dwellers with 54% of the worlds population living in urban areas (2014 UN report), and this only continuing in society, our bodies and physiology are still adapted to nature.
He denotes, along with other prominent researchers in this field, the industrial revolution taking place two to three hundred years ago, was when people started to move into urban areas. Prior to this event only 3% did so. Genes do not change over just a few hundred years, so essentially we live in a modern society with bodies that are still adapted to a natural environment.
This puts pressure on our sympathetic nervous system, our flight or fight response, in an acute response to a stressor. This means that when something in the environment triggers our brains alarm system, we go immediately into survival mode, shutting down our conscious brain to allow our physical instincts to take over, ergo we can take flight or fight. Read more about that here
As many of us know mainstream now, our trouble in this century is, not only does our brain respond to physically dangerous triggers but emotionally dangerous triggers as well. We constantly feel stressed!
So what is Shinrin-yoku?
It is a nature therapy, which reduces stress levels and improves the quality of life.
Personally, I know exactly how I feel when I walk through my local rainforest in Currumbin. It is a wonder to me. The smells, the beauty, the water, the sounds, the feel in my body as if a miracle is occurring, of slowing right down! I feel completely filled.
It is the practice of slowly walking through the forest in absolutely no hurry at all. 'Forest bathing' whereby you bathe (not literally speaking....think sun bathing) in the forest environment using all of your senses up close. Your five known senses, plus your sixth of intuition.
Where you bathe in the silence of words and listen to nature in her glorious splendour. Where you can return to self and your inner trueness to feel peace. Yes please!
Check out this video so you can begin to feel it for yourself....
Reference - Shinrin-yoku - The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation - Professor Yoshifumi Miyazaka