The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)
The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969
Recorded: February 26th, 2019
On a cold January day the Okutama forest, outside Tokyo, Japan, has some visitors.They are practising forest bathing, the art of connecting with nature. There's even a term for it in Japanese.
"The word shinrinyoku was invented in Japan in 1982 and had been loved for a long time since then."
Professor Miyazaki has been studying forest bathing for more than 30 years. His studies have included hundreds of people in more than sixty different forests across Japan, where he says he has found signs of the brain relaxing and lower rates of blood pressure.
"In Japan people think human and nature are in equal position. The forest provides you with a positive type of comfort. Some people like broad-leaved trees, and others like coniferous trees. Some like the aroma and others like the sound of the stream. You should look for and find the nature you like yourself. This would be the most effect way to enjoy forest bathing."
The group absorbs nature with all five senses and there's plenty of data that shows spending time outdoors is good for our health. A study from Harvard looked at 100,000 nurses. Those who lived in greener areas had a 12% lower risk of early death compared to those who did not. There were also lower rates of depression and anxiety and, of course, less sitting; often described as the new smoking.
"Normally people enjoy forest bathing in spring and fall during the leisure season. Forest bathing in winter also has its own benefits.The trees have different colours and shapes and you can enjoy cool and clear air in the winter."
Being away from the fast pace of city life and all the distractions that come with it, forest bathing is a valuable lesson in making quiet time for ourselves and hopefully adding time to our lives.
[Back in the studio]
"Actually, I believe that. It doesn't surprise me at all. You know, because it gives you peace, you get the fresh air through your lungs..."
"You are a convert to forest bathing. I can see it now." "I wouldn't go that far, but, yeah [laughs]. I love nature."
"Literally, they were hugging trees. I saw that, literally."
An introduction to Forest Bathing from CNN in their Living Longer series.The video is letterboxed to cut out the CNN headline news ticker.
getfiles: Forest BathingMP4 (Full HD Video), 82.06 mb
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