My post on forest bathing on A Medical Education may have seemed a little sceptical in tone. That’s because it was in terms of the claims made for forest bathing as a therapy – as any initial response to a claimed novel therapy should be. The tone, however, hopefully didn’t conceal the interest and indeed enthusiasm I have in this activity.
One online resource Shinrin-Yoku.org which has a wealth of information on the practice. If you sign up at their site they send a starter email, including a link to a PDF of 10 “starter nature connection invitations.”
They are all interesting and, in my personal experience, quite effective tools for approaching the natural environment (and applicable beyond the forest – I used some on a trip to Slievenamon.
It would be wrong to reproduce the 10 moments here – the reader can go to the effort of signing up at Shinrin-yoku.org themselves for that! One in particular has caught the imagination of myself and my children, No. 7 – “Deer Ears.” I have found this a very effective and strikingly bringing attention to the soundscape of the forest, as well as a quick and easy way to initiate discussion with children about animal senses. It is particularly striking near a stream or waterfall:
Cup your hands behind your ears to make them larger. Walk quietly and slowly like a deer, alert for the subtle sounds of the forest around you. Turn your ‘deer ears’ towards sounds that catch your attention. Did you notice anything new with your amplified hearing?
Photos are from Glenbawn Woods, Marlfield, Tipperary