The Japanese practice to de-stress and how to recreate it at home
One of the things I’m missing the most, due to the Covid pandemic, is traveling: with Italy approaching to a second lockdown, all that we can do is to leaf through travel magazines and wait for better times. Meanwhile, we can think about places we want to visit in the future and find alternative ways to explore the world. Today, I’m going walk you through forest bathing, a relaxing Japanese practice that we all should try in person but, due to the pandemic, we can’t. That’s why we’re going to talk about how to recreate something similar at home.
What is forest bathing?
This expression comes from the Japanese term shinrin-yoku (“shinrin” means “forest”, “yoku” means “bath”) which translation is “bathing in the forest atmosphere”. The ritual, born in the 1980s, started as a physical and psychological exercise to help people reconnecting with nature and moving away from their chaotic lives, at least for a couple of hours. The practice can be intended as a simple excursion in a forest or a deeper experience which includes finding proper spots with natural springs (streams, lakes etc.), where bathing is allowed, to fully enjoy the atmosphere. In the 1990s researchers began to study the impact of forest bathing on our health and, over the years, the practice has shown to benefit body and mind in many ways: it helps to release stress, it boosts our immune system and it’s a great way to unplug from technology and slow down.
Where I can experience forest bathing?
The best answer is: “Go to Japan and look for proper spots.” An alternative answer could be: “Search for a location in your country where bathing is allowed.” Unfortunately, we have to avoid or limit (when possible) local and international transfers so, at the moment, the best chance you have to try forest bathing is to recreate it at home.
How do I recreate forest bathing at home?
Let’s start saying, it won’t be the same unless you are a celebrity with a huge property which includes a garden and an outdoor bathtub. Also, we’re locked at home and, even if we can’t physically go to work, we can be short on time for many different reasons (smart working, housekeeping, children etc.). So, forget a two-hour break and try to save 20-30 minutes for a regular bath or a longer shower.
Forest bathing in 4 steps
- Switch off your digital devices and create the atmosphere in your bathroom: light a green scented candle to recall real nature. Yankee Candle in Forest Fir, (347 g, €29,90. Buy it here: https://amzn.to/32zt6O1
- We’re in autumn and it’s quite cold: use warm/hot water and start the bath with a gentle body scrub to remove dead skin cells. Rituals, The Ritual of Sakura Body Scrub (250g, €14,90). Buy it here: https://amzn.to/2UffGlo
- Use a de-stressing shower oil, instead of a regular body wash, for a more gentle experience. Aromatherapy Associates, De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil (55ml). Buy it here: https://amzn.to/32ByvUJ
- Complete your bath or shower with a fruity/musky fragranced body lotion or cream. Bottega Verde, Blackberry Body Cream (200ml) Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3pkK9Nu