Rituals: What is Forest Bathing?
Live Life Outside

Rituals: What is Forest Bathing?

At Sunski, we’re zealous advocates of living your best life outside. Whether you prefer to climb mountains or lounge on the beach, stepping into nature can bring a much needed reprieve from the mania of modern life.

Amidst the day-to-day hustle and bustle, you deserve time to bask more and stress less! With that in mind, we’re sharing a quick guide into forest bathing that you can use all year long. What is forest bathing? And how can you create your own forest bathing ritual? Read on and we’ll show you the ropes!

two women in the forest sitting back to back on a log

Sitting beneath the trees is its own kind of therapy

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing is not a new concept, but it entered the medicinal sphere in Japan back in the 1980s. The Japanese term for it, shinrin-yoku, literally translates to forest bath! But what is forest bathing?

In simple terms, forest bathing is a relaxation process that takes place amongst the trees. It’s about slowing down and allowing yourself to be fully immersed in nature. According to the president of the Society of Forest Medicine, Dr. Qing Li, shinrin-yoku means soaking up the forest with all your senses.

up-close of a vibrant green fern

Allow yourself to notice all the colors and textures of the forest floor

For the full experience, leave your phone and camera behind to unplug and purely exist in the world around you. In this way, forest bathing allows you to abandon the noise of the world and immerse yourself in the peace of nature. Without the distraction of your phone, you can stay present in the moment and savor the beauty of the trees!

a woman walking among the tall forest trees

Why go forest bathing?

As nature lovers, we know how great nature can feel on its own. When you hike scenic vistas or float down rivers, the boost from fresh air can carry you from the weekend all the way through your work week. So, why add forest bathing to your adventure rotation?

Forest bathing actually provides real health benefits, both physically and mentally. Studies show that those who practice forest bathing have lower levels of harmful hormones and lower blood pressure. It is also shown to reduce negative feelings about life, which can boost your happiness, decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, and improve your overall mental health.

two women smiling as they walk across a log in the woods

Wander, play, and live in the moment

With how hectic life can be, we need time outside now more than ever. Believe it or not, studies show that we spend a whopping 93% of our time indoors. Isn’t that wild? The forest is there, why not show it a little love and reap the natural rewards! The gentle rustle of the leaves, the sweet chirps of the birds, and the refreshing, woodsy scent will renew your sense of purpose and leave you feeling recharged.

Beautiful views and a mood boost all in one? A true win-win.

two people taking in a scenic forest overlook

Creating a forest bathing ritual in 3 steps

Okay, now that we’ve gone through the ‘why’ and ‘what,’ how can you go forest bathing? Here are three easy tips for creating your own forest bathing ritual, based on the advice of Dr. Li!

two people walking through a forest corridor

Pick your trees

Basically, find yourself some trees! It can be your local reserve or the forested mountains an hour outside of town, the choice is yours. You can change the place each time, or go forest bathing on your next camping or road trip. Or you can stick with the park around the corner from home. Just go for forest!

a look up at a canopy of trees with a little pocket of sky

As you observe the scene, don't forget to look (way) up!

Engage all your senses

Once you’re in the forest, don’t let the peaceful excursion go to waste! Absorb the fresh vibes. Take it all in.

Invite the forest to flood your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and limbs. Listen to the sounds of the rushing water or wind in the trees and let it wash over you. Rub your hands on the bark and smell the splintering trunk. Observe the different colors and the way the sun cuts through the branches.

woman kissing a tree in the forest

Feel the tree love, spread the tree love

Keep it mellow

No need to rush the forest bathing. The longer you’re among the trees, the better, but you can start to feel the positive influence after just twenty minutes.

Forest bathing is not the same as exercising. While trail runs and full-day hikes can provide a rush of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment, that quick pace doesn’t afford you the same opportunity to slow down and bask in the full sensory experience.

woman sitting on a mossy tree branch

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is find a peaceful spot to perch

There you have it: your introductory guide into forest bathing! Experiment with time and activities and find a forest bathing ritual that fits your unique style of adventure! The more you can get out, the better you're sure to feel. If this speaks to you, check out our blog on How to Practice Mindfulness in Nature.

It can be challenging to slow down, but that’s all the more reason to give forest bathing a go. You can find a nice spot to sit and perch on a sunny rock, clad in your favorite Sunskis, and hit the pause button for a minute.

Allow yourself to bask more and stress less. Take your favorite Sunskis and Sunburst Hat out for a day of forest bathing, and enjoy a long stroll among the trees!

Meet the Author

madison author bio

Along with writing blogs for Sunski, Madison creates nature books for kids. She grew up with BLM land in her backyard, which fueled her affinity for adventure and epic stories. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, camping, and reading under the sun.