My sister alerted me to the fact that the World Economic Forum this year included an agenda item on “Forest Bathing.” World Economic Forum tackles all manner of global challenges including both physical and mental health.
Wonderful to see people in high places talking about part of the solution to health crises is to rediscover nature.
When I was in high school in the ’80s, a flagship study on forest bathing was done in Japan which demonstrated the human body undergoes specific beneficial changes when immersed in a forest. Since the 1980s, more and more research has been done to show the benefits of not only immersing in a forest but also of trees to our general health and even school performance in cities.
I first encountered the term shinrin-yoku or forest bathing when I was studying ecopsychology four years ago, and I have collected guidebooks and resources with the goal of some day completing the only certification program in the US for forest bathing. But intuitively I have been forest bathing all my life. Even in my youth in the desert I sought out the rich diversity of plants, and desert plant names are the ones my brain retains.
Now I simply accept that me minus daily forest bathing equals out of kilter. I view it like my daily nutrients or brushing my teeth.
For anyone who may want further information about the topic of nature connection and health, I am sharing a resource list I compiled over the past decade on my “vision page,” Healing Outdoors. Our local children’s hospital is developing a new parent support program, and I have gladly accepted an invitation to participate. Even though the support is mostly provided by phone, I might just take my phone out to the trees.