What is Forest Bathing? A Beginners Guide

forest bathing at painshill

Forest Bathing, a technique that was developed in Japan in the 1980s, is fast becoming very popular in the West.

Despite the name, the activity doesn’t involve getting into water! This Japanese activity is about practicing meditation while surrounded by trees. It is a form of relaxation using the simple method of being calm and quiet, observing the plants around you and breathing deeply.

Scientific evidence has shown Forest Bathing can contribute to modern day wellbeing by helping people de-stress. So much evidence suggests that it reduces blood pressure and improves concentration that the Japanese government has incorporated it into the country’s health programme. A chemical released by trees and plants, called phytoncides, was found to boost the immune system.

So how can you get started? Here’s 5 tips to help you unlock the health benefits of Forest Bathing.

1. Leave your devices behind

Turning off your smart phone or leaving behind your camera is an important part of connecting with nature. It feels very alien to those of us who have a phone pretty much glued to the end of our arm but that’s exactly the point. It is vital to have a break from technology and putting your device away will give you the best chance to feel the health benefits.

2. Go slow

In our fast-paced modern life Forest Bathing can be your antidote to the stress that brings. Slow down your walking and take long deep breaths. Take a moment to consciously shake off that feeling that you need to be somewhere quickly or do something productive. Forest Bathing is about taking time away from that to just be in the moment.

Trees reflection in Autumn
3. Take time to notice the forest

Forest Bathing is all about being aware of your surroundings. Use all your senses and remind yourself to smell and touch as well as look. One thing often overlooked is the power of glancing up. Take a moment to notice the height and scale of the trees and you might also spot birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

4. Make time for nature

Like everything, Forest Bathing will not benefit your health and happiness if it is something you only do once. If you find you enjoy Forest Bathing, make time for it in your routine and life. Whatever is happening in your life you deserve to have time to look after yourself.

Painshill membership can offer you a beautiful place, full of trees, to visit regularly to watch the seasons change and find tranquility. However Forest Bathing can be done anywhere you feel comfortable, such as a local park or woodland, or even under a tree in your back garden.

Trees in Autumn
5. Join a Painshill session

If you would like to explore Forest Bathing with someone experienced you can join one of our sessions held in the landscape. Nigel, from Connect with the Forest, can help you through the process of what Forest Bathing involves, explain the science behind it and guide you to connect with the practice. If you would like to have a guide to start you off why not join one of our sessions at Painshill?