There’s never a shortage of health and fitness trends and the latest one increasing in popularity is forest bathing. While it may sound like you bath in a forest setting that’s not actually the case. Forest bathing began in Japan in the 1980’s and in Japanese is called shinrin-yoku.
Forest bathing is meant to bring a measure of peace and a sense of calm to busy, active lives. Cnet defines it as simply going into nature and being present with all five senses. The use and presence of technology is discouraged (turn off your phone!) and many participants forest bathe with bare feet for the full grounding effect. It’s not a strenuous hike — though those are great for you, too — it’s a meandering stroll with frequent breaks to observe what’s around you. There’s no peak or end goal in sight. Many experts recommend practicing shinrin-yoku for a full two hours, but of course many people fit as much time in the forest as they can, even if that means just 15 minutes.
In Canada, there are forest bathing guided tours right across the country including some in the cities of St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.