Shinrin-yoku, a bath in the forest to feel better

In Japanese it means "bath in the forest" and is a technique recognized and used in the Rising Sun to eliminate stress, depression and strengthen the immune system

A bath in nature to forget stress and feel better. Always being outdoors is recognized as a panacea for body and spirit. In Japan, they went further by incorporating the practice of shinrin-yoku, which means swimming in the forest (Forest Bathing), in a national welfare program and starting a series of studies on the subject. Research published in 2007 confirmed the benefits of full immersion in the woods.

Shinrin-yoku takes its cue from an important branch of medical science that claims that spending more time in nature could have some surprising health benefits. In a series of studies in 2010, scientists found that when people spend a few hours in a more natural environment (forests, parks and other places with a large concentration of trees) there is an increase in immune function. For this reason, if an individual goes to a forest and breathes deeply, he will be able to enjoy numerous benefits, including lower cortisol concentrations, decreased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced stress and cure for depression.

The merit of these benefits would be attributed to phytonocides, essential oils of the wood of trees, which, in addition to releasing special substances in the air to protect themselves from rot and insects, would also seem to benefit humans. Do you think that in Norway two hospitals were born in the woods just to put patients in contact with nature and to derive psycho-physical well-being from this closeness.

The walks in the green, among trees and bushes, in short, strengthen the immune system, regulate blood pressure and heart rate, lower cholesterol, but also cortisol, the stress hormone, give energy and help you feel better.

The Japanese Government invites citizens to walk among the trees, putting at their disposal experts who indicate how to breathe deeply, to walk in awareness of nature and to truly experience the benefits of a few hours spent in the woods. In April 2006 Iiyama became the first Japanese resort to receive forest therapy certification and today there are sixty-two certified locations.

In the book "Shinrin-yoku. Diving in the woods ", reviewed in La Stampa, Qing Li, one of the world's leading experts in forest medicine, as well as an immunologist and founder of the Japanese Society for Forestry Medicine, reveals the secrets of this ancient Japanese practice. "Shinrin-yoku is the art of communicating with nature through the five senses: all we have to do is accept his invitation and she will do the rest".

But beware: practicing shinrin-yoku is not just a picnic. A total immersion in nature is necessary. «I recommend choosing the most suitable activity for your body, you have to walk slowly, take long breaths, use the five senses. When we are indoors we tend to use only two senses: sight and hearing. Outside the home, we can smell flowers, savor fresh air, admire trees, listen to birds and feel the breeze on your skin ».

Quing Li has selected 40 wellness itineraries in the world: the Italian ones are the Sugherata di San Vito, in Lazio, and the Bosco Archifòro, in Calabria.

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