Seven Lakes Garden Club recently hosted speaker Lara Beth Jones, a certified forest therapist, to learn about “forest bathing.”
Jones said the term is a translation from the Japanese ‘shinrin-yoku’, which describes a practice of creating harmony within nature. She explained that the practice of forest therapy is growing in popularity around the world.
Decades of research show that forest bathing may help reduce stress, improve attention, boost immunity and lift the mood. Jones shared that some trees even emit a scent that boosts human immune systems when inhaled.
The practice, which can be done in almost any natural setting, normally involves sitting quietly for a period of time and allowing the senses to experience the sights, sounds and feel of nature.
She concluded her talk by doing a five minute “bathing” experience. She provided each member of the audience with an item from the forest and asked the audience to take time to close their eyes, listen to each breath, smell the air, listen to the sounds in the area, feel the air and clothing on their skin and feel the item with their fingers.
The connection to nature restores calm and encourages us to appreciate its healing benefits.