Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest-Bathing. How trees can help you find health and happiness by Dr Qing Li.
I read this book whilst sunbathing on holiday and I absolutely loved it! It’s a well written, easy to read book with beautiful photography scattered throughout.
The book starts discussing our human relationship with forests, what actually is ‘forest bathing’ and our innate craving for nature using the ‘Biophilipa Hypothesis’. Dr Qing Li then explains how and why Japan became a hub for the practice of Shinrin-Yoku.
The next chapter is ‘From a Feeling to a Science’. I loved this chapter, it really delved into the studies which have been done to scientifically support that great feeling you have when engaging with nature. Shinrin-Yoku has been shown to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce stress
- Improve cardiovascular and metabolic health
- Reduce blood-sugar
- Improve concentration and memory
- Help in the treatment of depression
- Enhance pain thresholds
- Increase energy
- Increase the number and function of immune cells
- Increase the production of anti-cancer proteins
- Encourage weight loss.
How you can practice shinrin-yoku is then explained. The methods of forest bathing is almost limitless and can be adapted to an individual’s capabilities and preferences. Options include forest walking, yoga, eating, meditation, t’ai chi, art classes and hot spring therapy. Dr Qing Li guides you through each of your senses and how to engage them whilst practicing shinrin-yoku.
Next is a discussion of how you can bring elements of the forest inside. This is great and opened my eyes to the use of essential oils. I feel this will be particularly useful for those living in cities with limited access to forest environments and those with reduced mobility.
The last chapter is a beautiful discussion of the future. It encompasses the topic of increasing urbanisation and how important it is to engage our children with nature, they, after-all are the ones who will safeguard it in the years to come and will only do so if they have already fallen in love with it.
Such a great read, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in nature or a wish to improve their health.