Shirin-Yoko or Forest Bathing _ Written by Princess Angeliquerose
Shirin-Yoko or Forest Bathing
Written by Princess Angeliquerose
Since the coronavirus pandemic we have been confined indoors. Rather than simply being an ‘unprecedented’ historical event, there must be a lesson we can learn from this virus. We need to take a break from our busy schedules and seriously consider the repercussions of our ever-expending resources and development. We are dangerously close to going too far, to letting our desire and ambition rebel against the law of nature, leaving permanent damage.
We must now step back and re-evaluate. What kind of world do we want to live in? We must fight on mother nature’s side, as she is desperate for more allies.
How can we live this out? We must encourage planting trees and maintaining green spaces in urban areas, as they are just as important as larger areas such as rural forests. These pockets of green spaces are vitally important as they are the primary sources of our daily access to trees.
But why are trees so important? I would like to introduce you to Shirin-yoko or forest bathing. Forest bathing is a therapeutic practice that originated in Japan and is a bridge between us and the natural world, of wisdom and wholistic well-being. As humans, we have a biological urge to communicate with our mother earth, that is, the force of nature that we are dependent on for nurturance and indeed our very existence.
Forest bathing can simply be described as immersing yourself in nature. Hence, to gain its benefits, all you need is a space with trees, whether that be an urban city with a park, or a larger, secluded forest. Forest bathing starts with being in nature, amongst trees. When you tune into the forest frequency you will gain immeasurable benefits from spending time outside, amongst nature. Almost instantly, you will reap the benefit of feeling younger, because spending time in nature strengthens your immune system and brings your body back into balance. Slow down whilst you breath fresh air, smell the mingled fragrances of nature and be wholistically present in the moment. Let go and dissolve into your surroundings, until you became one with nature. Be aware of each step, the temperature of the air, its feeling on your skin, and listen to the gentle rush of winds throughout the trees.
Trees have unique healing powers. Not only do they release oxygen, producing clean fresh air that remove carbons dioxide, but they also release an antimicrobial essential oil named phytoncides. This air-born chemical that is released by plants have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which are instrumental in providing protection against germs, insects and diseases. As you can see, phytoncides have a host of health benefits for us to take advantage of. As we breathe in fresh air, we take in phytoncides and profit from their antibacterial capacities.
Further, phytoncides also contains the chemical composition 3-carene, which produce the sweet odour of pasture and earth, unique to nature reserves. Some benefits of 3-carene include less vulnerability to inflammation and infections, quell anxiety, enhance your quality of sleep, boost your immune system lower blood pressure. When people breath in phytoncides, our body responds by increasing the number activities of a blood cell called natural killer or NK, which kills tumours, viruses and infected cells.
Clearly, this amazing forest medicine is vital to our well-being; especially during the COVID19 pandemic, as our bodies are more vulnerable than ever. What better way to boost our immunity than forest bathing? Simply taking 30 minutes a day to immerse yourself in nature can lead to better health and a stronger immune system. Simply walk or lie down near a tree and rest by placing your spine on the earth, bathing yourself amongst the trees, letting nature heal your body and mind.