Into the forest

Dr. Qing Li
Pain Management
Mental Wellbeing
Immunity
Weight Management
Hormonal Imbalance
Digestive Health

Suitable read for the following

Stress/1, anxiety/1, insomnia/1, sleep disturbances/1, immune system support/1, hormonal balance/1, mental clarity/1, calms emotions/1, overall wellbeing/1

Takeaway

This book not only teaches you everything you need to know about the mindful art of shinrin-yoku (“bathing your senses in the atmosphere of the forest”), it takes you on a sightseeing tour of Japan as you learn.

 

As Dr Qing Li (the head of the Society of Forest Medicine in Japan) explains why he was drawn to the practice and what benefits it brings, and whilst reading, you can almost hear the birds, feel a deep sense of belonging to the natural world in your core, and find yourself staring in awe at the colours on the page.  

 

In easy-to-understand language and with beautiful photographs, Dr Li also introduces the healing power of trees, the history of the practice and explains how it’s perfectly aligned with the principles of both the Shinto and Buddhist religions. 

 

Most of us now understand how damaging stress can be to our body’s processes and accept that those with chronically high cortisol levels are at increased risk of numerous health problems. Dr Li explains how his findings have proved that forest bathing:

 

Lowers the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline

Suppresses the ‘fight or flight’ system

Enhances the ‘rest and recover’ system

Lowers blood pressure and increases heart rate variability

 

And as a result of all these wonderful physiological changes, forest bathing also improves sleep. The holy grail! Doctors recommend 7-8 hours a night but not many of us are lucky enough for that to be the norm. Good quality sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing. It helps our brains to work properly, it balances our hormones and is essential for the proper functioning of our immune system.

 

Forest bathing also improves your mood and boosts the immune system. Much of these benefits can be directly attributed to the phytoncides in the air and the microbes in the soil that we breathe in while in the woods. Each of these beneficial side effects is explored by Dr Li in more detail, and then the rest of the book gives practical advice on how to go forest bathing by yourself. Each sense is explored, and example activities shared. There are also sections on how to connect to nature for wellbeing if you don’t have a forest close by or your mobility is limited, thereby making the practice accessible to all.

 

If you want to understand more about this ancient art and experience the benefits of a deep connection to nature yourself, this is truly the only book I’d recommend. I’ll leave you with this little nugget that I often read at the end of my guided forest bathing experiences:

 

“When we are in harmony with the natural word we can begin to heal. Our nervous system can reset itself, our bodies and minds can go back to how they ought to be. No longer out of kilter with nature but once again in tune with it, we are refreshed and restored. We may not travel very far on our forest walk, but, in connecting us with nature, shinrin-yoku takes us all the way home to our true selves”.

 

Sonya Dibbin

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