The latest trend in nature therapy: Forest bathing

By Eleanor Stanesby

When you think of bathing, water immediately comes to mind. The Japanese art form of forest bathing, however, encompasses bathing in a completely different way. Through mindfulness and the use of your five senses, this type of nature therapy allows you to soak in the natural environment around you, which in turn, can lead to amazing health benefits, both physically and mentally!

Read on to find out why this scientifically-proven form of nature therapy is trending in the Western world, with doctors, forestry commissions, and even royals getting on board!

What is forest bathing?

Originating in Japan in the 1980s, Shinrin-yoku forest therapy was invented by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and has become an essential preventative healthcare method in Japanese medicine. Shinrin-yoku translates to "taking in the forest atmosphere," or "forest bathing," as its now known in Western culture.

"Taking in the forest atmosphere" is the best way to explain this form of holistic medicine and what it encompasses. The idea is to truly immerse yourself in nature, to be present and engage your senses, in order to allow you to reconnect with a calm and mindful approach. Many people take hikes or treks throughout the forest; however, the concept of forest bathing requires a much slower-paced walk, quietness, and a form of meditation for you to feel its healing benefits.

A forest bathing infographic from Lifespark Weekly.

Why you should give it a try

For many years, forest bathing has been used as a form of medical treatment in Japan—so much so that it's now a part of their national health program. The proven health benefits of forest bathing have plenty of research to back them up, largely thanks to the foremost expert in forest medicine, Dr. Qing Li, who through years of research has discovered the following that it:

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Improves metabolic function

It's true that nature is undeniably peaceful, from the soothing sounds of birds and streams to the incredible aromas of flowers and plants, so it's not hard to see why this type of therapy has so many benefits on your mental and physical well-being. Just think about how relaxed you felt the last time you were in the middle of nature, taking in your surroundings without any distractions or disturbances. This is what forest bathing is all about!

Don't just take our word for it, though. Dr. Li has written a book on the subject called, "Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness," which will give you an in-depth look on how forest bathing can improve your overall well-being and how you can incorporate nature therapy into your daily routine.

Where to go forest bathing

Duchess of Cambridge at Chelsea flower show from Jersey Evening Post.

Talk about trendy! Even the British royals are embracing forest bathing. The Duchess of Cambridge co-designed a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where she sourced inspiration from this treatment of Japanese origin and the benefits it brings to the table.

Here are some tips for connecting with nature and getting the utmost from this form of therapy:

  • Find somewhere in nature tailored to you.

  • Engage your senses.

  • Slow down your pace.

  • Take advantage of the silence.

  • Explore with no destination.

Forest bathing is an individual experience that everyone will do and benefit from in different ways. If you need a kickstart to your own nature therapy journey, there are many programs to help guide you through your journey, no matter where you're based in the world.


Forest bathing sounds like the perfect activity to incorporate into your glamping adventure, so get ready to leave your vacation feeling extra rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever life throws your way!

Where to take your wellness in 2019

By Jackie Dreyer

Every year, we get more and more conscious of just how important it is to take care of ourselves—both physically and mentally—and the planet we inhabit, as well as how to continually improve at doing so. For 2019, we've got a couple of superb product suggestions that will help you carry on bettering your health and wellness in the new year.

Eco-friendly products

2018 was the year we saw the world start to take a hard stance on not using plastic products, be it bags in the grocery store or straws in our drinks at restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. To start the new year out on the right foot, make way for reusable items in your house, starting easy with cloth grocery bags and stainless steel straws.

Reusable straws

The benefits of reusable straws include everything from preventing the innocent deaths of marine animals, as garbage is often thrown in the ocean and straws are often mistaken for food, to safer for human use, due to the fact that stainless steel doesn't let off harmful chemicals.

There are even specialized reusable straws available now, like the Koffie Straw, which helps keep your pearly whites glistening and stain-free while still allowing you to get your caffeine on.

Reusable water bottles

If you haven't jumped on the reusable water bottle train yet, this is another eco-friendly product that will come in handy 24/7—no matter whether you're at work, at the gym, in the car, or on a hike. There are many options on the market these day, but one of the latest is the Astrea bottle, which has a built-in filter.

What's more? It's the only bottle certified to NSF53 standards to reduce lead. The importance of not only drinking water, but drinking quality water, is entirely underestimated. Just listen to these digestion facts from MindBodyGreen!

"City water is chlorinated to remove pathogens and disinfect the water. Chlorine is a skin irritant (consider mounting a shower filter if you suffer from eczema or dry skin), pro-oxidant, and destroyer of friendly microflora and stomach acid. When our friendly microflora are wiped out, we can suffer from bloating and slower digestion, and when our stomach isn't able to produce as much stomach acid and enzymes as it should, digestion can become downright uncomfortable."

Self-care products

Self care comes in many ways, shapes, and forms—for some people, that's a face mask and a bubble bath; for others, it's a nice meal out once a week.

Massage technology

Focusing on how to externally keep our bodies happy, the rising popularity of new technology, such as the Theragun, are sure to gain even more loyal fans in 2019. This unique, hand-held massager, loved by athletes and celebrities alike, is essentially a portable chiropractor—in fact, it was created by one! Thanks to its manageable size, this is a great investment that can be used both at home and on vacation.

Vitamins

Diving inside the body, the vitamin company, Care Of blew up on social media this year, with major celebrities, like Queer Eye's hair and skin guru Jonathan Van Ness, singing the company's praises. What's so special about vitamins, you ask? At Care Of, a lot.

The company creates personalized daily vitamin packs for you based on a quiz you take, where you answer some simple questions about your goals, lifestyle, and values. They then suggest for you the perfect combination of vitamins and supplements, which you can adjust as you please, and voilà! All you have to do is sit and wait for your vitamins to arrive at your front door—perfectly formulated with the only the highest quality of ingredients to kick start your 2019 with.

Herbal medicine

With the number of products, workout classes, lifestyle changes, and more that have and will become available to use, we could write a novel or two, but we'll just leave you with one final option to look into for now, which is herbal medicine.

From blog to business, Organic Olivia rose in popularity in 2018, and we can't wait to see what she has in store for 2019. What started as her providing herbal remedies, backed up with extensive research, on her blog and social media, has turned into a full range of tinctures, probiotics, and more—all of which have an army of happy, and now healthy, clients shouting from the digital rooftops about how wonderful they now feel, thanks to these products.

For those unfamiliar with tinctures, tinctures are essentially extracts, which are made by steeping an herb in alcohol to draw out its medicinal properties. Dating as far back as to when the first alcohol was ever distilled, tinctures were first used by the ancient Egyptians but didn't become common in Europe until the 1400s. Though they waned in popularity with the rise of Western medicine, they've come back on the health and wellness scene in recent years, due to a (continuing) rise in interest in herbal and Eastern medicine.

How else will you be improving your health and wellness in 2019? Let us know on social media!


Looking for a yoga retreat or getaway to practice mindfulness at in 2019? Check out what destinations are trending here!