Spa days are a great remedy for when we’ve become too stressed with the rigours of modern life. Thing is, they’re rather pricey. Perhaps this cheaper alternative may be of interest then?
It’s called shinrin-yoku, or Japanese forest bathing, and it has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system!
The practice of shinrin-yoku was inspired by ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices. It is all about going into nature and, rather than having a water-based bath, just being there and soaking in nature through all five bodily senses to reconnect us with ourselves and the natural environment. It has been seen as so good for us that it was even promoted as therapy by Japan’s forests ministry in 1982!
Science has shown many benefits from the bathing practise.
A 2009 study found that forest bathing increased natural killer (NK) white blood cells within the body. These cells are associated with the body’s innate immune system. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20074458 SUDO OCT CONTENT REF 11] Then, in 2010, a scientific review of experiments centred around forest bathing found that it can lower the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), lower pulse rates and lower blood pressure. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19568835 SUDO OCT CONTENT REF 12]
So forest bathing is great for the immune system and for lowering stress levels! Time to get out to the forest!