Immerse Yourself in Forest Bathing

- By: Michelle Auerbach

Immerse Yourself in Forest Bathing

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese practice of being fully immersed, with all your senses, into the beauty and awe of nature. This practice has existed officially since the 1980s in Japan and is catching on around the world. The expert in the United States is a calm, cheerful woman named Melanie Choukas-Bradley. When you talk to Melanie about the outdoors you can smell the forest and feel its calm in her smile. It’s easy to feel how therapeutic and calming this practice is. It made me want to try, right away, to get some of that calm, meditative feeling into my day.

Melanie suggests that we look for a place close to home to start our practice. She calls it your “wild home.” You can find a patch of trees, a park, a forest, or a creek. Clean air and water are ideal, but not necessary if you live in a city. But you don’t need much space. Melaine says that she covers a mile or less in a three hour session. So that’s pretty easy to find.

Forest bathing has three parts that make it so healing and calming.
1. You disengage from your daily routine.
2. Deep breathing and quiet interaction with nature.
3. Transitioning back to your daily life.

Then you immerse all your senses. You can meditate, draw or write, walk or hike, sing, laugh, and let the world go. A short time has a big impact on your life. And if you do it frequently, well, that’s really good for you.

In her book The Joy of Forest Bathing, Melanie says that research in Japan has shown that forest bathing lowers your blood pressure, pulse rate and cortisol levels, increases heart rate variability and mood. And if you get a chance to try it at all, you will not doubt those findings.

And when you are home, have transitioned back to your daily life, you can bring back the forest through smell. Smell is the sense that connects most deeply into our brains and circumvents our defenses, and in this case, that’s a good thing. No matter what the scent landscape where you live, bringing more of it into your home and your routine will enhance the time you spend outdoors, in your wild home.

Alpine Provisions Transporting Scents
The sustainably-sourced essential oil blends that scent our Castile Body Wash, Haircare, Deodorant, Lip Balm, Bar Soap, Hand Soap, and more are inspired by our favorite places in nature. They are designed to elicit a mini experience of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing each time you use them. Let these scents transport you to your wild home:

- Cedar + Sandalwood is woodsy and earthy like the red rock deserts of the American Southwest.

- Fir + Sage elicits the feeling of a high alpine adventure where the air is crisp and the sun and wind smells like pine trees.

- Lavender + Juniper takes you to a Mediterranean garden in the Provencal countryside.

- Rosemary + Mint is bracing and refreshing, like walking beside a cold, rushing river in the Pacific Northwest.

- Vetiver + Sage is spicy and grounding, like lying on uncut grass on a warm day.

Start looking for your wild home today and immerse yourself in the calming power of nature through forest bathing.