To skeptics, forest bathing looks merely like a slow walk in the woods. But the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku involves a more deliberate, meditative engagement of all the senses immersed in nature.
While forest bathing is having a moment, many cultures have long believed in nature as a balm for mind, body, and spirit. It’s the idea behind the Norwegian word friluftsliv, “open-air life.” Or part of what the Germans mean with the word waldeinsamkeit, that feeling of solitude when you’re alone in the woods. And it’s why so many younger Swiss skip church and head to the mountainside on Sundays. Outside, arbors provide the amen.
Words by Kelly Dinardo