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Forest Bathing: The Health Benefits of Connecting with Nature

Seek out nature.

A recent scientific review concluded that systematic forest exposure - a practice called “forest bathing” - offers genuine health benefits.

(No actual bathing is involved unless you get caught in a rainfall).

The researchers report that forest bathing may temporarily lower stress hormone levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, and improve sleep quality.

According to the scientists, forest bathing is a meditative practice that includes walking at a “non-tiring pace” with stops to do breathing exercises and contemplate nature.

Sessions usually last two to four hours and are supervised by a trained guide, say the researchers.

Obviously, that doesn’t sound all that practical for many of us - at least not as a regular activity.

But, like so many health and fitness practices, it’s not all-or-nothing.

Based on the scientists’ analysis, the minimal effective dose is 10 to 30 minutes for a single session of sitting or walking in the woods. Longer exposures are linked to stronger and longer-lasting effects.

Plus, “forest bathing” just sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

Of course, you might wonder: Doesn’t a nice walk around the neighbourhood or a city park offer many of the same benefits? Probably, but they may each offer unique bonuses as well.


Moving? Good.

Getting outside? Good.

Taking time for yourself? Good.

So, do more of that, as well as you are able to.



Antonelli M, Donelli D, Carlone L, Maggini V, Firenzuoli F, Bedeschi E. Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on individual well-being: an umbrella review. Int J Environ Health Res. 2021 Apr 28;1–26. PMID: 33910423


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