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Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) for Health

 
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Are you practicing any form of forest bathing? How are you "bathing" yourself with Nature?
 
pollinator
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Every day I spend about 15 minutes in the forest out back. "Walking the dog" makes for a great excuse to just BE out there. I like to walk very slowly, pausing often to notice what changes day to day. What's blooming, what mushrooms are growing, what  smells are present, that sort of thing. Timber was a requirement for me when purchasing a home for this very reason of forest bathing.  
 
Dave Burton
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When I go walking in the forest, I love to visit pine or fir trees, take some needles, and them rub them between my fingers.
 
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I was given a book called The Nature Fix which goes into some details about these nature retreats which are getting lots of attention in Asia. There are measurable physiological changes that last for days from walking mindfully in natural settings, especially for people who are only in an unnatural city environment most of the time.
 
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What I find fascinating about forest bathing is that science is now delving deeper into what happens when we spend time in nature, and why do we feel more alive? Is it the increased oxygen levels, the phytoncides emitted by trees plants? Whatever the source, our blood pressure goes down, we feel less anxiety, depressed and we feel more alive! I've noticed that when I'm outdoors I have so many choices on what to focus on and enjoy: the sounds around me; the patterns of the trees, leaves; the way the sun and shade mix in the vegetation; the way insects are going about their daily activities. Maybe it's the wide range of ways we have to choose from to interact with nature that puts us at ease and relaxes us?
 
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I live in coastal British Columbia and I do tree work and hedge work. So if it's raining in the winter, I'm bathing. I don't like the feel of rain gear and seldom wear it. Even if the rain is only light, it's easy to get soaked because each branch drops a heavy load when you touch it.

Tree bathing.
 
Andres Edwards
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Yes, there's many ways to experience the "bathing" aspect of forest bathing. There is definitely a different experience when I've been outdoors especially in the rain. Some of my most memorable times  have been in the mist, cloudy, and even rainy situations. Just observing the way the water hangs on the leaves, the way the water erodes the soil and the way it flows can be quite mesmerizing! I'm especially appreciative of cloudy days outside when i'm taking photographs since the light is spread out so evenly if often is ideal for photos. The first rain of the season also reminds me of the Earth like a dry sponge that just gets drenched in water and bulges with delight!
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