When Bhavna wanted to get out for a hike a few weeks ago, I suggested Herrontown Woods. It’s nearby, just a few kilometres from home, and we haven’t visited the trail in years. It had been so long she had forgotten’ she doubted she had ever hiked it.
While the Yellow Trail traces Harry’s Brook, we took the Red Trail, which took us all around the woods. She still didn’t remember when I mentioned the Orange Trail goes to the Veblen House, which we had visited. We found ourselves surrounded by trees with sunlight filtering through the leaves. It was a great feeling to experience Shinrin-yoku.
Shinrin-yoku (uncountable) in Japanese culture is a recreational trip to the forest for relaxation and well-being. The term Shinrin-yoku was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982. It is often defined as making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest; forest bathing.
A team of physiologists conducted a research study on the physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku. The results show that forest environments promote lower cortisol concentrations, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, pathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments. Too much cortisol can lead to anxiety, depression, and headaches and affects memory and concentration.
This is just what we needed.