the mysterious japanese art of shinrin-yoku is coming to britain – but does it really improve your health? - plastic sheet
My blood pressure has been tested, my pulse has been recorded, and the skin temperature on my left arm has been recorded.
I was asked about my sleep habits and reluctantly drew a face to show how I felt (
A small crooked mouth reflects my confusion).
It sounds like an exhaustive medical examination (
Besides face graffiti).
However, I was not asked by a traditional doctor and was not sitting in the hospital.
Instead, I am prepared to take part in an unusual, increasingly popular Japanese entertainment event, promising a complete return to physical and mental health: "Forest Bath ".
To be more precise, before she guides me along an ancient pilgrim route in southern Japan, my health is being examined by a "forest therapist"-during which I will stretch, meditater-e-a-t-h-
Breathe in the scent of trees, eat healthy food, and admire beautiful flowers, often drowned in everything in the forest.
For a long time, Japan and the forest have lived in harmony like sushi and sake.
As large areas of the islands are covered by mountains-coupled with the main Shinto religion rooted in natural worship-it may not be surprising that forests take a special place in national psychology.
The phrase "forest bath" was in his 80 s (shinrin-yoku)
It was written in poetry by government officials of the Japan forest bureau. Its goal?
Encourage a healthier lifestyle by taking regular walks in designated forests.
As two working mothers living in central Tokyo, there is one
Make a list higher than a tree, and daily juggling moves that often fall into freestyle chaos-a healthy reboot doesn't go wrong.
My default pressure may not be ideal
The coping mechanism is to eat my weight chocolate, the most relaxing part of my day is to cook the kids dinner while sending emails, and I shower and sing with my twoyear-old.
It's shocking that I tick all the overworked city boxes-lack of sleep (check)
Not enough technology-free time (check)
There is absolutely not enough time in the day (check).
It's not just the romantic concept of birdsong and forest scent that attracts me: in fact, science proves that forest bathing can improve health.
According to numerous studies in Japan, it can enhance the immune system, reduce stress hormones, enhance mental health, and promote brain health.
A report even claimed it lowered blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
After proper sale, I went to the remote forest-covered Kii Peninsula in Wakayama County and walked to part of the UNESCO network Kumano Kodo
A protected pilgrim route dating back thousands of years.
The starting point is the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center-a contemporary wooden building in a lush green valley surrounded by mountains-also known as the "forest bath" headquarters in the area.
Here I met my forest therapist (one of 30)
: The young 57-year-old yassu, West Villageyear-
An old man in good health.
She carried out a series of tests while slapping turquoise support stickers under my knee briskly, explaining: "forest bathing affects all your senses-sight, smell, taste, touch.
This experience is designed to open up your mind and body-from walking up on small stones to massaging your feet, promoting blood circulation, to breathing the fragrance of the forest. Let’s go!
"We started near the little shrine where I copied Yasuyo --
San wash hands in spring water, throw coins, clap in prayer before she leads me to do yoga
Stretching and breathing like standing.
Then we set off and were soon surrounded by the forest.
Venture along a narrow path, surrounded by tall, straight, thin Japanese cypress trees and cedar trees.
When we walk, I want to know when-and how-my health will restart.
However, my meditation was interrupted by Yasuyo's regular exclamation --
She waved her hands with white fingerless gloves.
"Beautiful white flowers!
"The leaves are as soft as the baby's face!
"Is a typical highlight interspersed with" jacket off!
"Drink some water ! "
And "take pictures from here! ”.
Soon I heard "Stop!
"-I see about 40" original wood beds "scattered in the trees, made from neatly tilted clutch of chopped trunks-this is the background of our" log meditation.
Before I was instructed to lie down, take a deep breath and close my eyes, a pink polka dot plastic sheet was grandly placed on the bed.
Surprisingly, I almost fell asleep when the music was unexpectedly in the air: I opened a small part of my left eye, when I saw my forest teacher playing a melancholy tune on the bamboo flute, I swayed in the woods.
The overall effect was surreal, but calmed down-so much so that I was reluctant to stand up when I was instructed to move on after 15 minutes.
As the road rises, we continue to walk, and the picture of the forest is also changing, giving way to the farmhouse, fruit trees and vibrant green tea fields on the hillside.
Once I was addicted to some shopping, Kumano Kodo style: an empty path
There is a wall, a piece of fabric and a shelf with orange biwa fruit and green tea on it. I pop a 100-
The yen coin became a jar for some fruit (
Delicious and sweet)
Until we got to a wooden building, Yasuyo-
San produces lunch: a green leaf lunch box containing colorful rice and local vegetables (
Total calorie count: 700 accurate).
Before I go in, Yasuyo-
San produced a white device and tested the skin temperature on my arm: "It dropped from 30 degrees. 3 to 29. 8. That’s good!
This means that you use your body to walk correctly.
I learned about Yasuyo at lunch.
San was high before-
A flying TV drama producer who has lived in Tokyo for decades
Therefore, her natural and authoritative manner)
But when she was in her early 40 s, she returned to her hometown and Geshan.
When I asked her if she was always energetic, she smiled: "No!
I worked very hard in Tokyo with backache and stiff shoulders.
But they're gone.
I am not anxious anymore. I am very happy.
Because I am surrounded by forests.
After brewing coffee with hot spring water (
Soft and mellow)
I lost track of time as we continued to cross the sun
Dotted with forests, stop to stretch and gaze at the flowers.
In a steep place, we went 40-
To save energy, the second burst before stopping and taking a deep breath.
Walk to the end of a quiet area deep in the forest
The Red Valley of Xiong Ye is a sand God society. The thatched roof and altar are covered in white cobblestone courtyards.
Finally, back to the center, my blood pressure was checked-although slightly higher than before, Yasuyo --
San gave a positive explanation for this: "Very good!
You walked a lot!
"That night, at an old inn by the river, I wasn't sure if I was healthier, although I slept deeply after soaking in hot springs and a bowl of detox black charcoal udon noodles.
The next morning, I met two ladies who reassured me.
In a small workshop on the Kumano Kodo route, they piled a basket of cedar leaves into a huge steamer to extract 100 of natural essential oil from the surrounding trees.
One of my rational brain's favorite points is that they are working with university scientists and they have found that Kumamo Kodo snow pine oil can fight the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
"Scientists have found special scientific elements in these trees," explains Manami Takehara, founder of tree oil.
"It must be linked to their history as a pilgrim route.
In ancient times, people came here to cure the disease and smell the forest while walking.
They did the same today.
"That's enough to convince me -- with a bag of brains --
I continue my final destination: Amanemu, a luxury hotel near the County of Mie.
Sea View and forest in the hotel (
Simple, modern, impeccable taste)
Everything around nature-yes, including trees.
My forest adventure ends with my post
Skillfully cover the limbs of hiking with tree oil in the spa (
From black wood Temple camphor tree to Japanese cypress tree)
Next is an hour of meditation with the local monk-a fragrant forest breeze flowing through an open window, and the words of the therapist linger in my ear: "Nature is medicine.
"When I went back to the frenzy of life in Tokyo, to be honest, I didn't know if my blood pressure was different from my skin temperature or if my immune system was enhanced.
But there is no doubt that I have rested and relaxed-I would be happy to choose smiling faces if someone asked me to paint my feelings.
The author's tour is organized by the hegeshan Tourism Federation (en. visitwakayama. jp)
Hiking in Japan (walkjapan. com)
Provide group guidance-
Night walk along the tourist trail 362,000 yen (£2,500)
Accommodation, breakfast, dinner and three lunches are included.
By contacting Kumano de Kenko Labo (
Xiong Ye Health Laboratory
Red Valley Heritage Center in Kumano (
0081 cm 735 cm 420 cm 735 cm;
Kumano1221 @ amail. plala. or. jp). Amanemu (
0081 cm 656 cm 715 cm 8855 cm; aman.
Discount doubled from 134,244 yen (£925)
Activities range from meditation and Spa to hiking in Kumano Kodo. See telegraph. co. uk/tt-
Watching the trees, lying on the log and meditating, breathing the smell of the forest is not the only way for the Japanese to relax.
Here are some alternatives: the default relaxation mode in the hot spring bathing country has always been to take off your clothes, take a dip in the myriad of natural hot springs scattered around the island-perhaps the island's most delightful heritage, earthquake-active Japan has the world's active volcanoes.
Japanese society is not known for expressing emotions easily.
But not much time.
Take a step forwardkatsu (“tear seeking”)
-An increasingly popular phenomenon that includes a group of people coming together to watch sad movies for good stress
Relieve crying together
Mosmeditation Moss (
Yes, green matter growing on rocks)
There are some moments in Japan.
There are best-selling books about the joy of staring at Moss
Visit the famous Moss attractions.
People who like moss-many young professional women-squat in the Forest of the country, stare at Moss with a magnifying glass, and some compare it to a philosophical meditation. Silent cafésSo-
The place known as the "silent cafe" where customers can't say a word but write everything-from their food order to "Where is the restroom, please?
"-On the provided notepad.
This concept seems to reflect the growing desire of the younger generation of urban residents in 24-
The chaos of an hour of city life.
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