“The Medicine of Being in the Forest.”
The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life activity; it affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axe-man who destroys it.
The text on this page is from www.shinrin-yoku.org:
Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe.
This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku,
the medicine of simply being in the forest.
Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980’s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
Now it is making its way to the rest of the world. Shinrin-yoku is based on a robust body of science that supports the idea that if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.
We have always known this intuitively. But in the past several decades there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system’s way of fighting cancer.
The proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:
Lowered blood pressure
Lowered pulse rate
Reduced cortisol levels
To learn about The Science of Forest Medicine, go to:
Kipukamaluhia borders an ancient forest, where some of the trees are several hundred years old. (Thank you, Tenaya, for these particular photographs~)
“Sleeping in the Forest
I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.”