Gottcha! – This conjures up images of naked bodies standing in waterfalls, swimming in quiet pools or streams. But in this case ‘forest bathing’ is the practice of taking in the forest atmosphere – by taking a short, leisurely visit to the forest for your health.

I was telling a friend how good it felt to go for a walk one day, and she referred to the practice as shinrin-yoku.  I looked it up after we talked. The practice of shinrin-yoku was ‘developed’ in the early 1980s in Japan, and is it proven by scientists to benefit physical as well as mental health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, and overall improve your sense of well-being. New idea? not really.

I think many of us already knew this, intuitively, by just how we felt after a walk. A walk in the woods anywhere lifts my spirits. Hearing birdsong, feeling the light breeze on my face, hearing the crunch of leaves and twigs underfoot – or perhaps the silent footfall on soft pine needles – relaxes me, and rejuvenates me in amazing ways. I’m sure many of you have felt this, too.

So it’s not a new idea, but one wherein scientists and health experts have demonstrated and quantified, through various studies, the positive benefits. Worth a read at the link above, if for no other reason than the reminder that, even if you are not going out to photograph, you might want to take that walk in the woods anyway.

To your health!