Famously beautiful, Big Canoe’s epic mountain vistas and green wooded landscapes have amazed visitors for decades. But did you know that just spending simple time in our lush forests can also have measurable health benefits?
The Japanese call it “shinrin-yoku,” or “forest bathing”. No, you don’t need to bring soap, and you can leave the rubber duckie in the bathtub at home. The concept is simple and intuitive: spending time outdoors in a beautiful natural setting actually makes us into healthier and happier humans. The fresh air, cool rain, warm sun, earthy smells, fragrant flora, and noisy fauna all around us can have lasting, proven effects on our overall well being and health. Legendary naturalist John Muir understood this perfectly when he wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.”
Some of the health benefits of forest bathing include boosted immune function, reduced stress and lower blood pressure, improved mood and ability to focus, faster recovery from surgery and illness, increased energy, and better sleep. The social and emotional benefits are also clear; we become more in touch with our surroundings, increase our intuitive abilities, and deepen our friendships as we spend time together immersed in the beauty of nature. Who knew that you could be on your way to better health just by visiting or living in Big Canoe?
Whatever your motivations for practicing shinrin-yoku, we encourage you to get some comfortable walking shoes on, dress for the weather, and step outside onto one of our many miles of nature trails. It’s good for you!