This topic converges with my natural-historical interests which I generally discuss here – so here it is….
In recent times there has been increasing media attention on the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or “foresting bathing.” Going for a walk in a forest – which is what forest bathing basically is – is something I have always both enjoyed and found restorative. And anything that encourages people to connect with the environment around them is to be welcomed. And there is a body of research showing health benefits (though it strikes me that studies with 12 subjects are rather small to be making too many generalisations, and obviously forest bathing is something which a plausible placebo for comparison is tricky to devise!)
More generally I am a little wary of using health grounds alone as the reason to engage with the natural world. This is not to say this is an invalid approach, or one which has its place in a therapeutic toolkit. I would not use the much-abused term…
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