Like everything that I seem to be deeply interested in, forest bathing is a very old practice, found in many different cultures and religions all over the world, most of us have practiced this throughout our lives without even fully realising it. It is known as the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, and it is now one of the cornerstones of Japanese healthcare. This form of bathing draws on the therapeutic powers of nature and connects us to the earth around us. Not only is it good for you physically to walk about with this practice, but mentally it is so vital. Such bathing is also said to boost our immune systems, improve creativity and helps with our problem solving abilities as well as improving our moods.
The important thing is to really disconnect from the daily rush and constant stream of information and communication via our phones. Some would say to leave your phone at home but I like to keep mine on me in case of emergencies, and because I like to take pictures as I walk along, to keep with me so that I can go back to it later and remember how serene I felt during that moment. One thing you could do is use areoplane mode or do not disturb, but otherwise just have all your notifications off, so that when you take your phone out to take a picture of the sky etc, you won’t see that little symbol that someones trying to reach you, and you won’t feel implored to answer them. Half the time even if we don’t answer someone, we walk around thinking of what we want to reply anyway, which is frustrating.
There’s also a grounding exercise we can do when we feel exhausted, disconnected and even jet-lagged, it’s called ‘earthing’ although I must admit I didn’t know there was a name for it until recently. It’s something I love to do when I’m sat in a field on a summers day, usually most people will get the urge to take their shoes and socks off, when we do connect our feet to the ground, it does more for us than we know. This tiny little method is very much overlooked, there are real health benefits to it, such as improved sleep and improved blood flow. Darin Olien demonstrates this on Netflix’s ‘Down to earth’ when he and Zac Efron are jet-lagged coming across the border to Paris. He stops the car, takes his shoes off and encourages everyone to take a stroll barefoot, to help his body clock to adjust to the new time zone and to ground himself, giving him immune system a little boost.
I’m currently living in a flat with no outdoor space, no courtyard, no garden, no balcony etc so heading out to be around green spaces has really made me realise how much I depend on them and what they mean to me. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breath or think properly until I’ve gone and connected via my walk through the park early morning.
Another kind of bathing is through smoke, incense smoke or smudge smoke. There’s also steam, as in Yoni steaming etc but I’ll get to that on another post.
Rosemary is allegedly particularly good for the third eye, it gives it energy and helps to cleanse it too. I swear, when I use a smudge and lift it above my head, bathing my face in its smoke, I get goosebumps and a little shiver up my spine, but in a good way. There’s definitely something magic about using a smudge, and letting its smoke fall about your body, cleaning your aura, and quite literally ‘raising your vibe.’ Again, this is one of many ancient practices that’s still widely used today but sometimes we do these things on automatic without fully realising how important they are.
I don’t have a bath in this flat, only a shower, so that’s another factor that has me bathing in other ways, but obviously I have to mention the standard form of bathing. Recently my mum came into possession of some CBD Epsom salts, and I have to say, these are a real game changer. I love my salt baths, I’m definitely not a bath bomb or bubble bath girl, partly because I’m allergic and also because these heavily scented glittery bath bombs throw off our PH down below, and you definitely don’t want to be dealing with the aftermath of getting it back to where it was meant to be. I really wouldn’t put anything in my bath unless it was salts or herbs from the garden, flowers too. As long as you’re not allergic to the odd herb, having a bath like this is so much better for you then adding in something sickly sweet. Not to mention it’ll save you a bit of money and probably a trip to the chemist for when you get an itch from it all.
The next smudge I’m going to go for is blue sage, and like last year, I think I’ll make a lavender one too. I hope this was somewhat inspiring to get out there on a walk, remember to focus on your breathing too, pause on a bench for a moment and take in what you can see and hear, don’t reach for your phone, try not to daydream about something else. Keep your head in the forest with you, or in the smoke, or in the salt bath, and allow yourself some peace.