Nature Notes

Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.

Forest Bathing

 The idea of forest bathing was developed in Japan during the 1980’s.
Since that time, the idea has become popular in many countries around the world.  Forest bathing provides a way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.  Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, simply refers to bathing in (or taking in) the forest atmosphere. There is no time frame involved, and no set destination.

 It is estimated that the average American spends more than 90% of their time indoors.  Forest bathing presents the opportunity to go outdoors and take in the forest through our senses.  It does not involve any hiking, jogging, or any exercise at all.  There are no required fitness levels to participate.  It simply requires listening to the sounds of birds singing, watching the various patterns of sunlight coming through the trees, and breathing in the fresh, clean air.  It provides a relaxing time that allows us to forget our worries and just connect with nature.

 Many scientists over the last several decades have cited the benefits of spending time outdoors in nature.  Reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, increased energy level, and accelerated recovery from surgery or illness have all been cited as reasons for spending more time outdoors in a natural setting. 

 Park visitors have long been familiar with the benefits of spending some quiet time in nature.  Plan a visit to Lasdon Park and Arboretum and enjoy taking in the forest atmosphere for yourself.  No cameras or phones are required.