Updated: Feb 24
If you're uncomfortable going out into the forest on your own, or you'd like to begin forest bathing by learning from a guide, then that's what I'm here for. But of course, you don't have to go out into the forest with a guide - you'll receive plenty of the benefits by trying it by yourself. One of the pioneers of Shinrin-yoku, Dr Qing Li, (author of Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing) is a professor at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo. He wrote this piece on the best way to go about it for Time magazine in 2018 and it's a wonderful place to begin your outdoor adventures.
First, find a spot. Make sure you have left your phone and camera behind. You are going to be walking aimlessly and slowly. You don’t need any devices. Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. Follow your nose. And take your time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere. You are not going anywhere. You are savouring the sounds, smells and sights of nature and letting the forest in.The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy of phytoncides. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Drink in the flavour of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm. This is your sixth sense, a state of mind. Now you have connected with nature. You have crossed the bridge to happiness.”