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Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy

I was totally unaware about the concept of Japanese forest bathing, until I visited this homestay – The Dolina, blissfully ensconced in the lap of the foothills of the Himalayas. Surrounded by verdant forests, this place is a sheer delight for the mind, body, and soul. It offers one of those rare experiences that unwind the senses completely.

It was here where I was introduced to this beautiful concept of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy which means walking slowly into a forest, taking in the atmosphere and sinking into the arms of nature. The concept that developed in Japan in the 1980s, has now become increasingly popular as a healing and rejuvenation technique that promises long-term effects.

How it works

There is something about nature, especially about trees, that is utterly soothing and relaxing for the human mind – the Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy is largely based on this fact. When you walk into the greens, you slowly feel a sense of peace envelop the body and mind. This is referred to forest bathing. The idea is to simply be with nature, where you do not need to hike or trek or count your footsteps. The sole purpose is to relax and to improve the overall feeling of wellbeing.

Barefoot walking is yet another aspect of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy which also contributes to the overall wellness and physical health of a person.

Benefits

A lot of research has been conducted on the concept of forest bathing. Studies reveal that the health benefits of spending time in the company of trees are innumerable, some of which are:

• Improvement in the functioning of the immune system

• Reduces blood pressure

• Reduces stress –  Nature decreasing stress. Studies have shown that after being exposed to a stressful situation, viewing a nature scene or being in nature can actually help lower the physiological effects of stress such as heart rate, muscle tension, and pulse transit times. Additionally, research in prisons shows that inmates with cell windows with views of the natural world had lower rates of digestive illnesses, headaches, and had fewer sick calls overall. The stress-reducing health benefits of nature also extend to the workplace. Employees with a view of nature perceive lower levels of job stress and higher levels of job satisfaction.

• Enhances Mood

• Increases concentration

• Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness

• Enhances energy levels

• Improves sleep

• Improves happiness quotient 

The Dolina is located in a peaceful, serene environment. It is the perfect place to experience the bliss of forest bathing and nature walks.