When is the last time you took a bath in the forest?

I know what you’re thinking

because you know how I think …



Yet, as much as I love them, I wasn’t talking about outdoor tubs.

The sort of “bathing” I have in mind is rooted in the Japanese concept of


which means “forest bathing” or, more literally, “taking in the forest atmosphere.”


Photo by Leafnode via Wikimedia Commons

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that one could practice Shinrin-yoku

while bathing …

in a tub …


In fact, that sounds like a brilliant match, and this Japanese outdoor tub looks divine:


Photo by R34SkylineGT-R via Wikimedia Commons

But, according to Japanese researchers, a tub isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of “bathing.”

“[Shinrin-yoku] was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine,” explains, an organization dedicated to promotion of the practice of Shinrin-yoku and other forms of nature-immersion therapy. “Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish Shinrin-yoku throughout the world.”


Photo by Malene Thyssen via Wikimedia Commons

It’s simple: Visit a natural area and relax for a while to gain calming, rejuvenating, and restorative benefits for body and spirit.

“We have always known this intuitively,” says Amos Clifford, founder of “But in the past several decades, there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our ‘NK’ (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system’s way of fighting cancer.”

Other scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered pulse rate
  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Increased vigor
  • Reduced anger
  • Reduced depression

The forest is waiting …


Photo by Oliver Herold via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. This sounds wonderful! I have always sought these benefits from the ocean, but the concept of Shinrin-yoku makes tremendous sense to me. Here’s another reason to go explore nature!

  2. I have my ” secret hideaway” by the edge of my meadow. It is the deep woods ( 100+ acres) by a babbling spring fed stream, with a little waterfall. It is full of the huge glacier boulders from the last ice age. Moss covers everything and the wooded canopy above is so green and wonderfully fragrant . Mostly old forest growth and mixed woods, pines and deciduous trees. I go there on hot summer days or anytime I need to “get away “. This is my Shinrin-yogu.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I think your outdoor Spa is the best ever solution for getting that relaxation and benefit. Place, color, heat, scent, it all works together from the spa!

  4. Karlyne says:

    Well, doesn’t this explain all of my minor “ills” since moving to the flatlands a few years ago! (Along with all of Big Ag’s chemicals and “farming” and “ranching” practices)! But, Lord willing, I won’t be here much longer! To the trees, to the trees!

  5. Nancy says:

    Yes indeed! Long weekends spent at Worlds End State Park here in PA were so rejuvenating. Now I understand why!! Would not have made it thru my Masters program without those weekends. As a non-traditional student, those weekends were lifesavers. Most people could not understand why I headed off to the hills and a rustic cabin, or why I hiked to a favorite small waterfall and sat there for hours. Yes, yes, yes!!!

  6. Thank you for quoting me! And great post, by the way. I would love to have actual bathtubs along the trail with hot water running through them… that’s the ultra-deluxe form of forest bathing. We do have hot springs just down the road from where I lead most of my shinrin-yoku walks.

    Your readers may be interested to know that we’re offering a training in September (1-5) here in California for people who would like to be certified as shinrin-yoku guides. Our aim is move beyond “this is something they do in Japan” to “this is something that is fully integrated in the health care system in the United States.” Posts like yours help with this goal, much gratitude to you. I hope we meet on the trail someday…

  7. Pingback: Get on the Forest Bus | Raising Jane Journal

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