Early in the pandemic, when going to the grocery store was all one should do, I found myself ungrounded. It was a pandemic, after all. I missed getting out to hike as I need the outdoors to stay grounded. We are fortunate to have woods behind our house. Part of these woods are state forest and part is managed by the farm behind us. There is also a lot of wet back there. Still, I needed out so I began exploring the woods in ways I hadn’t in all the years we’ve lived here. Plants, animal tracks, and birds revealed small delights. As it got somewhat safer to hike farther afield, we started hiking weekly. These hikes amongst trees, rocks, and water have been a huge influence in keeping me happy, grounded and sane. This is forest bathing.
Dr. Qing Li is the Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine. Yes, in Japan forests are considered medicine. This is called Shinrin-yoku and has been a practice since the early 1980’s; heal people and save the trees.
Within this book, Dr. Qing Li covers history, sacred trees, places throughout Japan where one can go for treatment (usually for stress), teas, and how to bring the feeling of the forest inside. City dwellers as well as suburbanites can find something for themselves within these pages.
This book is lovely to read and has some beautiful pictures as well. Purchased on a whim, this book has many page markers that I go back to from time-to-time as a reference. Park managers have reported exponential numbers of people seeking to walk or hike their area. Many of these people have said they have found a new delight in exploring and hiking and will continue to do so. Nature offers the intangible we are all often seeking. If you have ever been curious about forest bathing, this is the read for you. May you find peace amongst the trees.