Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese practice and literally translates to ‘forest bathing’. It means taking in the forest atmosphere, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Now, I love nature walks, but I think you can only go so far as to where things get too spiritual for me. Though, the backstory of this Japanese therapy is very interesting and maybe more relevant than ever, in my opinion.
Shinrin-yoku started out as a marketing campaign, introduced by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture in the early 1980s. The idea was to encourage people to appreciate the forest, to recognise its beneficial effects, and to stop perceiving it merely as an economic resource. The ministry invested millions into researching the forest, its benefits and health aspects. As a result, centers for forest therapy emerged and medical students at Japanese universities can qualify as specialists in forest medicine.
I am not sure how much difference this marketing campaign has made, because deforestation is still an issue and I am pretty sure it probably has gotten worse than it has gotten better, but I feel people are getting more and more aware these days. I have never seen so many advocates for reversing climate change, I mean who hasn’t seen David Attenborough’s latest documentary and talked about it? Then again I believe it’s not the average person’s fault forests are still taken advantage of, but this is definitely a start.
The more I’m reading and learning about nature, the more I want to be a part of it and protect it. I want to contribute and do my part in the best way I can and I believe it starts with the small things: changing habits and being aware of the part nature plays in my everyday life. This is also a big reason of why I started this blog. Even though I’m not at all an expert in the things I share (please keep this in mind), it makes me think and learn more about those things that are important (to me) in life. By writing about it and publishing it, I can maybe help spread the word.
© 2020 Lauren