Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

Forest Bathing: More Than a Walk in the Woods

August 11, 2023
Written by: ercc-marketing

by Hilary Sohn, Owner/The Healing Sanctuary

In today's fast-paced world, we often find ourselves detached from the very essence that nurtures our well-being - namely, Nature. The practice of Forest Bathing takes its inspiration from Shinrin-yoku, a practice in Japan that translates to “Forest Bath”, and offers a magical opportunity to reconnect with the natural world, leading to a host of remarkable health benefits. More than a mere walk in nature, Forest Bathing, combines the practice of mindfulness and a series of invitations that immerse the experiencer more deeply into the natural world and their own deeper self.  This practice has a wealth of scientific evidence that points to physical, mental and emotional health benefits, such as:

  1. Stress Reduction and Anxiety Relief: Scientific studies have shown that spending time in nature, especially among trees and green spaces, lowers cortisol levels and promotes relaxation. The soothing sights, sounds, and scents of the forest create an ideal setting for calming the mind and alleviating anxiety.1
  2. Stronger Immune System: Forest environments emit natural compounds called phytoncides, which can strengthen your immune system. Breathing in these beneficial substances while Forest Bathing can enhance the production of natural killer (NK) cells, responsible for combating infections and diseases.2
  3. Improved Mood and Mental Clarity: Escaping to the tranquility of the forest has been linked to improved mood and increased focus. The green ambiance promotes mindfulness, reduces symptoms of depression, and enhances cognitive function.3
  4. Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Health: Forest Bathing has been found to contribute to lower blood pressure levels and improved heart health. The peaceful environment aids in reducing the risk of heart diseases and maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.4

Join us for more than a walk in the woods on Thursday, August 17th , 6:15-8:30 PM for a Forest Bathing experience with Forest Bathing Guide and Mindful Birding Teacher Holly Merker at Bondsville Mill Park in Downingtown, PA.  Space is limited; registration required.  More details about the evening walk can be found at our Class link.

1[Citation: Park, B.J., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T., Kagawa, T., & Miyazaki, Y. (2010). The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 15(1), 18-26.]

2[Citation: Li, Q., Morimoto, K., Kobayashi, M., Inagaki, H., Katsumata, M., Hirata, Y., ... & Ohira, T. (2008). A forest bathing trip increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins in female subjects. Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents, 22(1), 45-55.]

3[Citation: Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science, 19(12), 1207-1212.]

4[Citation: Ohtsuka, Y., Yabunaka, N., Takayama, S. (1998). Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing and walking) effectively decreases blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. International Journal of Biometeorology, 41(3), 125-127.]

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