The term Shinrin-Yoku, or “forest bathing”, coined in Japan in the Eighties by the director of the Japan Forestry Agency, refers to immersion in nature with all five senses. The Shinrin-Yoku is now increasingly known and appreciated as a preventive therapy. The Shinrin-Yoku is an adventure in deep communion with nature. It is practiced in many ways, but the most traditional is the walk and meditation in the woods or in the forest.
The text offers, in the first part, an overview of the various possible ways of meditation when we are surrounded by nature and numerous tips on how to establish a ritual contact with the forests to benefit from their beneficial energy.
In the second part of the book "Shinrin-Yoku - The Immersion in the Woods"by Selene Calloni Williams, instead, 30 cards corresponding to 30 trees / different shrubs (from the fir tree to the vine), will combine the myth of each plant to its imaginal characteristics ,that is, its ability to interact with our emotions, and our behavior and therefore our destiny. For each tree, the author suggests an imaginal dialogue through which the readers can "tell theirselves" to the tree and ask the spirit of the plant to help improve an aspect of theirselves and their life.
The experience of nature sets our brain to another mode in which nagging thoughts vanish, feelings of happiness emerge and problems fade into the background.
- The forest bathing is subsidized by the Japanese health care system, studied and put into practice in medical schools and clinics in Japan.
- This is one of the few books about this particular disease prevention method.
- The immersion in nature has proven therapeutic effects also scientifically: it is able to lower the stress hormone concentrations in the body, to strengthen the immune system, to regulate the blood pressure and heart rate, to lower cholesterol.
Extract from on the book:
Origins and benefits
"The term Shinrin-Yoku was coined in Japan in 1982 by M. Akiyama Tomohide at that time Director of the Japan Forestry Agency: it refers to the immersion in nature with the five senses. The Shinrin-Yoku today is rightly counted among the preventive therapies. In fact, the immersion in nature has proven therapeutic effects in empirical and scientific ways.
Certainly the nature of teacher and therapist concept is owned by the man from the beginning, but, since the industrial revolution, in recent times, the individual has urbanized and industrialized, in a few handfuls of years, profoundly changed their lifestyle , dangerously moving away from nature.
It is very useful, therefore, that the benefits of nature are riveted by a philosophy, the forest bathing, which brings with it a practical method of action and behavior. The vision and practice of Shinrin-Yoku, in fact, are rapidly spreading throughout the world and is expected to arrive in great levels of popularity in the coming years. It is an urgent and pressing needs of the people who went through the industrial era and which is now in full technological era. The technology has helped to alienate man from nature. Today people spend most of their time in front of a screen accumulating "technostress" which is, in effect, a disease. Stress provides fertile ground for the formation of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. A "forest bath" (that would be the closest expression to the concept of Shinrin-Yoku) allows us to wash away the stress accumulated. There is evidence that immersion in the woods and, more generally, the contact with nature, is able to lower the hormone concentrations of stress in the body, to strengthen the immune system, to regulate the blood pressure and heartbeat, to bring down the cholesterol.
A study of 2013 the University of Exeter in the UK, has led to conclude that even those who live in green areas is happier. The contact with nature also favors the resilience which is necessary during convalescence and recovery phases. Not only that, the nature also facilitates the treatment of psychological illnesses such as depression. There are studies that show its benefits even of schizophrenia and other serious behavioral disorders. Being in contact with nature also helps to have a better memory and gives more resistance against physical and mental aging. Since the immersion in the woods acting now proven ways on the immune system powering up, it is to be taken to all intents and purposes as a preventative therapy with broad spectrum.
But why Shinrin-Yoku is born in Japan?
About two hundred years ago it has sprung Japanese aesthetics, which, more than a philosophy, it is a real life driving. It originated mainly from the vision of Zen Buddhism. The Shinrin-Yoku Japanese aesthetics is strongly connected. We also need to keep in mind that the Japanese worldview is done through observation of nature; Japan is rich in forests, although there is an intense concentration of population in the city: it is one of the countries with the largest forest area. “
Selene Calloni Williams - Noburu Okuda Dō
(available in Italian)