Shinrin-Yoku: Stress Relief the Japanese Way

January 20, 2016

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.’ John Muir.

I am into anything that can help relieve stress and low mood. It seems modern life can become a giant path through many stressful events and I’m up for trying anything that can help us along the way.

My boyfriend introduced me to this Japanese stress relief technique after reading about it in this fantastic book and I had to share. It’s called ‘Shinrin-yoku’ or forest bathing. Now doesn’t that sound good before you even know what it is?!

It was developed in Japan and is ‘prescribed’ by Japanese medics to people who suffer from depression.  It is a process of mindfully walking and exploring nature in a forest. The process has been described nicely as:

  • Breath
  • Relax
  • Wander
  • Touch
  • Listen
  • Heal

There are many, some highly dubious, health claims on the internet surrounding this practice. However, as a tool in our pocket to help boost our mood and provide relaxation, I am sold.

Now while we don’t all have beautiful Japanese forests close to hand, I think this can apply to any outdoor space. So when you next feel the ‘black dog’ following you, get outside and see if it helps.


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