‘Forest bathing’ is a translation of the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, developed in the 1980s for the good of public health. Recently forest bathing has become popular in the US and the UK with other Japanese lifestyle concepts such as wabi-sabi, the art of imperfection, kanso and danshari.
Forest bathing is basically a form of meditation in the natural world based on the biophilia hypothesis. ‘Forest bathing essentially means taking a leisurely trip to an area of woodland and having moments of stillness,’ says Samantha Lyster of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (rspb.org.uk), which offers forest bathing sessions at various locations around the UK. ‘Listen to the sounds, breathe in the smells and concentrate on the colours. Forest bathing is designed to help people to stop, be still and feel joy.’