Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) is the Japanese-inspired practice of immersing oneself in the atmosphere of the forest for relaxation, enjoyment, and health care. In the last generation our lives have become technology-driven and disconnected from nature, while stress-related illnesses have become epidemic worldwide. Forest bathing / forest therapy is a growing global movement to bridge human health care with nature.
Shinrin-yoku originated in Japan in the 1980s as a public response to karoshi (death by overwork). Today Japan has over 60 official Forest Therapy sites and countless shinrin-yoku retreats, forest healing centers and programs. South Korea is now the global leader in forest healing and programs and offers forest healing programs for specific populations, including firefighters with PTSD, school bullies, and cancer survivors. Finland, Germany, and other countries are learning from Japan and Korea and implementing similar forest wellness programs.
For more about the science behind Forest Therapy, see natureandforesttherapy.org/the-science.html.
The scientifically proven benefits of time spent in natural and semi-natural settings include: