Nature is as old as time, she’s been here since the beginning and will be here long after our end. She’s twenty two million times our senior, our elder, our mother: Mother Nature. Her healing powers are so strong and soothing. Her presence is vital, and perhaps now more than ever, we need her like never before.
We are part of a great Earth, but we are a tribe that’s been disconnected from our roots. When we painted the world concrete, it sealed us out from her. It created a barrier, a separation. The only way to connect again, is to just hang out with her, take a walk barefoot in her presence, take a bath in her forests. “Shinrin-yoku!” –for you and me that means forest bathing! I’m not talking about having to go streaking in the forest or anything (feel free to!), but if you’re not familiar with the Japanese tradition, picture it as just a walk in the park. Literally. It isn’t always easy to find a nice little oasis or forest smack in the middle of an urban area, so parks can do the trick. Try to find a quiet hour where you can take a break from LED screens, and television. In the morning where the hectic activity of civilization hasn’t woken up yet, where there are still only a few cars on the roads, where you can enjoy a moment for yourself of peace and quiet.
One of the greatest benefits of Shinrin-yoku, might come when breathing in natural phytoncides. These are anti-microbial substances the plants and trees produce to protect themselves against insects. Holistic medicine and aromatherapy widely use these phytoncides because when we breath it in and it enters our bodies, a reaction occurs where the production of a particular kind of white blood cell is increased, improving our body’s ability to fend off and fight cancer and disease. Several studies performed in the United States have concluded that spending time in the outdoors helps improve concentration and focus. It can be walking for as little as fifteen minutes, the healing environment of the woods may reduce stress levels, decrease blood pressure, promote longer and more refreshing sleep and improve mood. Nature might not be a cure all for everything, but neither is the prescription medication that we payed for that may have long-term negative effects. Be kind to nature and you will see that she is a powerful friend to have.
Happy bathing everybody!