Why You Need to Try Forest Bathing

To wind down, try taking a walk in the woods.

Why You Need to Try Forest Bathing

Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, originates from Japan and was established in 1982 as an innovative approach to addressing and even preventing modern-day ailments and stressors. In the last two decades, the practice has gained traction and is now primed to be the next big wellness trend. We spoke with M. Amos Clifford, the founder and CEO of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) and Suzi Minor, an ANFT-certified Forest Therapy Guide at L’Auberge de Sedona resort to demystify the misconceptions of forest bathing and discuss its promising benefits.

What Is Forest Bathing?

Despite what the term initially suggests, forest bathing doesn’t involve washing up in the woods at all. Clifford describes the ideal forest bathing session as a slow stroll through the forest with a stream, canopy, meadow, or open area. Sessions typically range between one hour to three hours. Unlike hiking, forest bathing isn’t a physical exercise and doesn’t emphasize reaching a destination. The purpose of forest bathing is to tap into your senses, experience the forest directly, and pay attention to how your body reacts to being in the natural environment.

Will you ever feel comfortable in your own skin? That is, if you don't make an effort to protect it? Although 64% of adults do report wearing sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time, it turns out that only about 10% of people surveyed actually protect themselves daily, according to a recent review.

No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

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