Extreme tree huggers

Rebecca Holmes, Associate Writer

Graphic by Matt Stromlund.

Graphic by Matt Stromlund.

How many times a week do you just walk around outside? How often do you really get out into nature? If you're a college student, then it's likely your answer is fairly never. During college, most of your time is spent either at a desk typing on a laptop or in the bed watching Netflix. That's all about to change. It's time to forest bathe. 

The term forest bathing actually comes from a Japanese phrase, Shinrin-Yoku, that was coined in the 1980s. In English, Shinrin-Yoku means to immerse in the forest atmosphere. 

Forest bathing isn't actually taking a bath in the woods and becoming friends with all the woodland animals like Snow White. Forest bathing is completely saturating yourself, mind, body and spirit, in nature. 

I know you’re probably thinking; why should I give up my time to sleep or watch Netflix to go be outside with a bunch of animals, trees and bugs? But forest bathing is beneficial in more ways than just physical exercise. 

For one thing, forest bathing helps reduce stress, and as college students, I know that we have plenty of stress. Forest bathing also helps decrease heart rate, blood pressure and a myriad of other things. 

Forest bathing does a great job of engaging all five of your senses. According to CNN, the creator of the forest bathing club in San Francisco, Julia Pleven, said, "The practice of forest bathing is about non-efforting, so we don't have a destination. It's all about moving slow -- a lot slower than you expect. It's about engaging your senses, so when all of your five senses are engaged, you are present, not lost in (your) head." 

Forest bathing is all about getting us outside into nature and disconnecting us from a society that is very "on" all the time. We live in a fast paced and stressful world which makes things like forest bathing a necessity. We need an outlet to just get away from life; we need forest bathing. 

To find a forest bathing club near you, click here