Updated: Jun 17, 2019
"Shinrin" means Forest, "Yoku" means Bathing.
Shinrin-Yoku means “Forest bathing”. All you do is to visit a natural green area / forest / bush and walk around. See the trees and greens around you, take a deep breath and feel relaxed as if you were soaking in a hot water. Bathing in a hot bath relaxes both your body & mind, and so does the forest.
There are so many hot springs in Japan and the Japanese people love them very much. It's very much a part of our culture with deep heritage going back hundreds of years. In Japan, when one is stressed, tired and needs some time away, the first thing that comes to the mind is “let’s go to Onsen (Hot spring)”. Because most Onsens have an indoor and outdoor bath, where you can view a nature such as forest (mountain) view, river/creek view or ocean view. This provides us a significant benefits that make us feel that we are bathing in a natural environment.
Similarly, the purpose of Shinrin-Yoku is to calm one's mind and rejuvenating your energy.
It is a simple natural therapy which has been done for many years.
Another important meaning of bathing to Japanese is that we usually have a bath at the end of the day, always night time to cleanse your body and mind before we go to bed so it provides a good sleep and ready for the next day.
So the benefits of hot bath bathing and forest bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) are very similar such as reduced stress, improved mood, increased energy level and much improved sleep.
With Shinrin-Yoku, trees provides fresh oxygen so you can take a deeper breath and the green colours of the leaves sooth your eyes, sounds of birds calm the noise in your head and you feel the breeze on your skin. In a very short time you enter a relaxed state of mind !