Shinrin-Yoku translates as Forest Bathing and originated in Japan in 1982. In Japanese Shinrin means “forest” and Yoku means “bath”. The Japanese governments incorporated it into the country’s health programme. The practice is to spend time in a forest atmosphere, breathing, observing, listening, connecting, in the company of others if you wish, no jogging or workouts required.’
I discovered recently that Monmouthshire Borough Council offer ‘walk and talk’ sessions outdoors to promote mental and physical wellbeing. Also, apparently Scottish GP’s are prescribing time outdoors in nature to improve patient’s wellbeing.
There was a great article published in The Guardian recently about Shinrin-yoku. “Shinrin-yoku was developed in the 1980’s in Japan. Although people have been taking walks in the country’s forests for centuries, new studies showed that such activity, enjoying sensory immersion in the forest, could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and improve concentration and memory.”
According to the World Economic Forum some benefits of Forest Bathing include:
- Forest areas are oxygen rich.
- Trees and plants emit oils, known as phytoncides, as protection from germs and insects, they help to boost our immune systems.
- Quiet contemplation in forest areas can lower heart, blood pressure and reduce stress hormones.
- Helps reduce depression while boosting energy.
- Regular contact with nature really does improve your wellbeing.
I walk outdoors, in all weathers, whatever the season, regularly with a close friend of mine and often with my children. I’ve recently organised a 60 minute ‘walk and talk’ session prior to Menopause Café Caerphilly that I organise on a monthly basis. This evolved after I organised a group of 16 family, friends and yoga students to take part in a sponsored walk to the summit of ‘Pen-y-Fan’ (South Wales’ highest mountain) for a local charity, Hospice of the Valleys. We raised lots of money and had such an amazing time that the group wanted to continue walking on a regular basis. We often walk in the local woods but also enjoy other naturally healing environments, such as mountains and the stunning Welsh Coastline.
Prior to this month’s Menopause Café we enjoyed a 60 minute walk in woodland on such a beautiful, warm, sunny evening, surrounded by so many wild flowers, plants and trees. Some of us picked and ate wild raspberries too. Afterwards a refreshing drink was most welcome along with some tasty snacks, sat outside in the beautiful gardens of our venue, with so many picturesque views.
Cognitive impairment was one of our topics of conversation, (so many of us have forgotten where we parked our car on more than one occasion), fatigue, the role of progesterone plays in a woman’s menstrual cycle, the perils of dating later in life, and so much more. We discovered that Google Maps ‘app’ on our mobile phones allow us to pinpoint our location on arrival at our destination, which helps when you need to find your car again later!
I’m really looking forward to the next Menopause Café Blackwood at The Maes Manor Hotel, on Friday 9th August 2019 6.20-8.30pm.
This Summer I also intend to organise some outdoor Yoga and Mindfulness events so watch this space for details.