Forest Bathing, Explained

Forget the CampSuds and ultra-light towel—this isn’t going to be that kind of bath. Although forest bathing has (unofficially) been around forever, it’s been gaining a lot of popularity in the outdoor space—and if you camp or hike regularly chances are you’ll understand why.

The Tiny Shed, IN (Barbara Tulit)

The practice of forest bathing (also called shinrin-yoku) comes from Japan. The idea? To take a leisurely stroll through or simple visit in nature as a means a relaxation. Scientists claim there’s a whole list of health benefits from spending time relaxing outdoors in a beautiful setting, but suffice it to say it just makes you feel good.

Reducing stress (and all the unwanted things that go along with it) is one of the biggest benefits. But the best part of forest bathing is that it doesn’t have to last long or be strenuous. So to your friend who’s all about taking on the hard hikes—let them know that even a slow meander through the forest is enough to reap the benefits of forest bathing and feel awesome afterwards.

Here’s how you can give forest bathing a try:

Get Outside

Find a forest or a peaceful outdoor space where you can take a walk or just relax.

Keep It Simple

Go alone, or with a friend who’s willing to keep conversation to a minimum. Forest bathing isn’t the time to catch up about work etc. It’s meant for relaxation and breathing in the scent of pine or eucalyptus. It’s meant for unwinding.

The Landing, Index, WA (Evan Kubena)

Let Your Mind Wander

Walk on a path or sit in an area where you don’t have to worry about getting lost and you can just let your mind wander. A lot of people have compared forest bathing to meditation, which is essentially what it is. Don’t spend the whole time optimizing your mental to-do list. Just take a break and have a look around.

Wild and remote places are some of the best to get in your first forest bathing experience. Check out some of our favorites below, though in reality any place you can get a close experience with nature puts you in the right place to forest bathe.

Find nature near me

Frog Pond, Sierra Foothills Oasis, CA (Madison Kotack)
Blueberry Fields Forever, WI (Brittany Stepp)
Honey Hollow Farmstay, NY (Ezekiel Gonzalez)
Paradise Shores, Eastern Sierra, CA (Madison Kotack)
Mallard Cottage, NY (Ezekiel Gonzalez)
Larissa Runkle

Writer and climber, living on the road since 2018.

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