16 elokuuta 2019

Shinrin-Yoku - Forest Bathing

The silence of nature is really continuous,
magnificent and endless symphony.

Most of my blog friends are nature lovers, so a review of this wonderful book. I didn’t know anything about forest bathing until Diane praised this book. A little googling gave a lot of hits. So it seems forest bathing is some kind of a rising trend that fits in well with today, after all we are all worried about the climate change.

At Amazon:

Maintaining and strengthening the forest relationship has never been more important. People should remember that the forest helps us. More than 32 million hectares of forest are felled every year around the world.

Shinrin-Yoku is a kind of meditation in the forest, the idea is to calm the mind and body to receive the present and stimulate all five senses. Shinrin-Yoku is not hiking, but rather slow walking and being in the woods. Dr. Qing Li recommends a speed as low as 2.5 km per two hours. The idea is to stop and listen to your own sensations, open your senses and observe: you can see, smell, touch, taste and hear the beauty around you in the forest.

Me forest bathing, got a rain bath as well :)

For more than 30 years, Dr. Qing Li has been researching the effects of forest medicine on the Japanese and found that forest bathing has many positive health effects. This is not limited to Japan, many projects and studies have been done and are ongoing around the world. It is not new to us nature loving Finns that going outdoors improves mood and relieves stress. But it has been investigated that forest baths have measurable physiological effects, too: they can lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve concentration and memory, and boost the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells in the body.

The book was a charming reading experience. Dr. Li's way of writing is a fascinating mix of scientist and nature lover.  The book has a wealth of beautiful four-color forest images from around the world, so the reader can get some kind of forest bathing experience through the pictures. And, of course, the spark to move more outdoors and appreciate own surroundings.

For a Finn, a forest bath may not be a revolutionary idea because we have a small population and everyone can get into nature quite easily. But globally, urban life is becoming more and more hectic, with noise and technological stress. Dr. Li flashes a not so nice picture of the lives of 13 million Tokyo people:

There are 11 million daily passengers on the Tokyo subway. In Japan, the phenomenon is called tsukin jigoku, or commuting hell. Equipped with white gloves, ashiya pushers push passengers in subway cars designed to carry only half of the current number of passengers.

The forest bath does not require an ancient wild forest, your own garden or urban green areas will do. In an urban environment, trees contribute to the health of residents by producing oxygen, absorbing fine particles, air pollution and excessive rainwater. The book tells about incredibly great green design projects around the world. For example, the dismantled motorway ramparts in Seoul have been transformed into parks and many cities have large-scale tree replanting projects.

The name of Rikugien Park in central Tokyo means "the Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry", and it has 88 small scenes of famous poems. The flowering branches of cherry trees hang in the spring, and the entire park glows red thanks to the autumn maple leaves.

Rikugien picture from here. More pictures on the site.

Children are the future, says Li. Smart devices and other indoor activities fascinate today's children and adolescents, but a good relationship with nature teaches them to love and protect the environment. There are also special forest day care centers in Japan where children spend most of the day outdoors. There are over 60 certified forest bath centers in the country that have been awarded the Healing Forest Label.

In nature, observation can be called soft enchantment: Clouds or sunset, leaf chatter, bird singing or whispering of the wind capture the mind effortlessly. Soothing scenery and sounds give your mental resources a respite.

The text in Finnish HERE.
Click yourself to a forest bathing experience!

16 kommenttia:

  1. Liebe Riitta,
    danke für diese Buchvorstellung. Bisher hatte ich von diesem Thema noch nie gehört. Da mich Bäume und somit auch der Wald sehr interessieren und ich mich unter Bäumen auch sehr wohl fühle, ist dieses Buch für mich genau richtig. Am liebsten würde ich überall Bäume pflanzen und mich an ihrem Wachstum erfreuen. Wenn ich es mir jemals leisten kann, kaufe ich bei uns in der Nähe eine Wiese und werde dort Bäume pflanzen. Davon träume ich.
    Ich wünsche Dir ein schönes Wochenende.

    Viele liebe Grüße

    1. Liebe Wolfgang,

      Das Waldbad scheint wirklich ein aufsteigender Trend zu sein. In diesem Sommer wurde auch ein Buch von finnischen Schriftstellern veröffentlicht. Ein tolles und wichtiges Buch. LG, riitta

  2. As you said, for a Finn forest bathing may be not so new...
    I can tell you: even for an Italian living in Finland now!!

  3. ...my eyes are bathing in nature's beauty! What a sad world this would be without the wonderful greens of mature. Thank you Riitta for sharing this lovely post. Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Dearest Riitta; Thank you very much for great information (or review) about this book. I am proud of this Dr. of Medical School hospital in Tokyo who provided us this knowledge. Yes, I've seen incredible amount of nature has been destroyed which I enjoyed or soothed just being close by. Nowadays, I think I don't get the spark to move more outdoors and appreciate own surroundings; but like you said, I was convinced that I should spend more time at my own tiny garden;-). Receiving the present through Forest Bathing must stimulate all five senses which has measurable physiological effects; Must be most important thing for us living nowadays
    Oh, I've never visited " Rikugien". I wish I could have a chance to visit there someday♬
    Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

    1. Hi Miyako,

      For those who live in mega cities, the nature and forests are so important. I found it very charming that Rikugien is a kind of 'poetry garden' - what a lovely idea! I have seen only photos of Kiyoto in the autumn - what a splendid colour burst with all those red and orange Japanese maples <3 Thank you for commenting.
      Dr. Qing Li has visited Finland also - this was a great book. Greetings & hugs riitta.

  5. Hello, Ritta! Beautiful natures scenes and photos. Hubby and I often get outside and into the forest for our walks. I could easily enjoy Forest Bathing. I am against clear cutting and seeing nature destroyed. The book sounds interesting, thanks for the review. Great post. Have a happy day and a great new week!

    1. Clear cutting is a terrible sight. Fortunately it is not seen very often.

  6. Lovely photos. Thinking about forest bathing caused Me to reflect on where I “bathe.” And I thank you for reminding me about the beauty that can be fount in silence anywhere. Wishing you well!

    1. The nature has great healing power - I'll come soon for a visit.

  7. What a wonderful book review and explanation of how this works and how it can be used by anyone, no matter where they live. I am drawn to the forest but when I can't go for a hike I spend some time outside in my yard walking around. It's very therupuetic. Thanks too for mentioning me. I wish I had been with you outside in the rain, it looks beautiful! Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

    1. Hi Diane,

      I'm no selfie person, but it felt so funny that I had to take some. I was wet like a drowned rat - even my underpants were wet :) Luckily it was not too cold. Thank you once more for the reading tips - the book was awesome!

  8. Precioso, me encanta. Besitos.

  9. I've heard of forest bathing - fascinating!

  10. I've heard of forest bathing, but I prefer a walk or a hike rather than such slow movements. We like to stop often and admire the intricate bits of ferns and foliage we see. It's always restful to be away from cities and civilization.

  11. Riitta - I will have to read this book. The other day, I took a video of the 'silence' around our home at night. I am sure many people cannot imagine a world that is truly silent. Sometimes, when I go bird-watching, I start off thinking there are no birds about. But if I sit down and wait, they show themselves! I have heard of some people who experience agoraphobia - the fear of open spaces. Imagine! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!


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