Have you heard about Forest Bathing?
Shinrin-Yoku means “Forest Bathing.”
“Forest baths are gentle walks that support well-being through sensory immersion in forests and other naturally healing environments.” http://www.shinrin-yoku.org
[Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.
The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.]
Williams Fork Lodging is an 80 acre nature lodge with trails and day use areas as well as limitless private locations where you can choose to “bathe” in nature.
Our 80 acres borders thousands of acres of National forest and state lands with access to a variety of stimulating environmental niches that are brimming with sensory input. Pine tree, aspen tree and sage brush aromas fill the air. Recurrent wild flowers and blooming berry bushes add their perfume to the atmosphere. And, fall of course, brings the wonderful forest fragrances that precludes winter’s recess.
Also nearby and very accessible are the soothing sounds of the spring “run off” coming from the snowcapped mountains, as it travels from to the pond near our off grid cabin named “Bill’s” before overflowing and continuing on to lower ranches and the Colorado River in the valley below.
The lack of light pollution enables a velvety black dark sky backdrop to be filled with a clear view of the Milky Way.
Any full moon is a stunning event moving many to have memorable and breathtaking experiences observing this seemingly infinite night time celestial sky!
Bill’s Cabin is the perfect place to spend timeless “now moments” immersed in a personal forest refuge sanctuary with stylish amenities including a very comfortable bed and an appropriate area to prepare food. The deck boasts a vast wide angle view of mountain ranges including Rocky Mountain Park, Indian Peaks and Bill’s, Ptarmigan and Byers mountain peaks. The perspective from there will enhance and upgrade any mood encouraging your journey’s path to reveal and unfold with ease.
Shade or sun you are bound to find the area that suites your needs.
Benefits of Shinrin-yoku *
The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:
• Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body’s natural killer cells.
• Reduced blood pressure
• Reduced stress
• Improved mood
• Increased ability to focus
• Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
• Increased energy level
• Improved sleep
Just as impressive are the results that we are experiencing as we make this part of our regular practice:
• Deeper and clearer intuition
• Increased flow of energy
• Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
• Increased flow of Prana/Chi/life force
• Deepening of friendships with those you sit with.
• Overall increase in sense of happiness
From The Association of Nature & Forest Therapy, Guides and Programs:
Science Agrees: Nature is Good for You
Below is a curated collection of journalism and research on the health benefits of nature and forest therapy.
Reset the Stress Button https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/about/science
Physical activity in the form of a 40 minute walk in the forest was associated with improved mood and feelings of health and robustness.
Levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in test subjects after a walk in the forest, when compared with a control group of subjects who engaged in walks within a laboratory setting.
Forest bathing seems to significantly mitigate the root cause of a multitude of ailments: stress. Excess stress can play a role in headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, and arthritis, among many other ailments.
Forest bathing catalyzes increased parasympathetic nervous system activity which prompts rest, conserves energy, and slows down the heart rate while increasing intestinal and gland activity. Lower cortisol concentrations are also a signal that the body’s stress-response system is being triggered less. When this system is triggered, cortisol and other stress hormones are released into the body. Overexposure to these chemicals in response to chronic stress can increase the risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment.
The average concentration of salivary cortisol, a stress hormone, in people who gazed on forest scenery for 20 minutes was 13.4 percent lower than that of people in urban settings.
Leisurely forest walks, compared with urban walks, show a 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a seven percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate.
Boost Immune Functioning
Stress hormones can compromise immune defense; in particular, the activities of frontline defenders, such as antiviral natural killer cells, are suppressed by stress hormones. Since forest bathing can lower stress hormone production and elevate mood states, it’s not surprising that it also influences markers of immune system strength.
In a 2007 study, men taking two hour walks in the woods over a two day period exhibited a 50% increase in levels of natural killer cells—the body’s disease fighting agents.
While more research is needed, some preliminary research is even suggesting possible anti-cancer benefits such as Dr. Li’s 2008 study of 13 female nurses on a three-day trip, in which the trip produced anti-cancer proteins and benefits lasting more than 7 days after the trip. Dr. Li and the scientific community continue to research this exciting potential.
Phytoncides: How the Trees Heal
Improvements in immune functioning were associated with lower urinary stress hormones while in nature. None of this was observed during or after the comparison city trips. As mentioned, the reduction in stress is almost certainly at play in the improvement of immune defenses. However, the natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees, collectively known as phytoncide, have also been associated with improvements in the activity of our frontline immune defenders. Li has measured the amount of phytoncide in the air during the studies and correlated the content to improvements in immune functioning.
This is an interesting finding in the context of the century-old reports on the success of the so-called forest cure in tuberculosis treatment. In the mid- to late 1800s, physicians Peter Detweiler and Hermann Brehmer set up sanatoriums in Germany’s pine forests, as did Edward Trudeau in the Adirondack forests of New York. All reported the benefit of the forest air; indeed, contrary to expectations, the results seemed to be magnified when the forest air trapped moisture. There was speculation among the physicians of the time that pine trees secreted a healing balm into the air, and in yet another twist of the shinrin-yoku studies, the existence of an unseen airborne healer is being revealed.
Kick-Start your Creativity
Time in nature improves our mental performance and creativity. One study of a group of Outward Bound participants found they performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. Researcher David Strayer says this occurs when we’ve been immersed in nature long enough.
We believe that the techniques of Forest Therapy taught by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs can produce similar effects in 3 hours.
Feel Better, Feel Good, Feel Wonderful
Time in forests seems to significantly improve mood in countless studies replicated in a variety of cultures. Many studies have compared the psychological effects of urban walking vs. nature walking and have found that nature walks tend to correlate with greater mood improvements.
Nature improves mood and cognition in depressive patients.
Come forest-bathe and rejuvenate!