Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese term for forest bathing. The practice of taking in the forest atmosphere. It was introduced by the Japanese in the 1980’s to address tech-boom burnout. A form of ecotherapy, it connects people with nature.
Walking in nature for at least 45 minutes calms us down – right down. Wood is the element related to liver. When we are stressed, anxious or depressed our qi becomes blocked or stagnates. More and more stress with no relief causes this stagnation to grow eventually affecting our digestion, sleep and hormones.
Exercise helps run our qi or energy. It’s like a release valve. Walking in nature is even more effective as it regulates our liver qi. Like acupuncture when our emotions build, and we have no outlet for releasing them receiving acupuncture is like popping a balloon. It provides a channel for the Qi to be released from the body. Emotions are energy.
I had a new patient come to see me this past week. She had never had acupuncture before – dry needling from physio but not actual acupuncture where we intentionally guide excess energy out of the body versus firing motor points. When I followed up with her to see how she was feeling, she messaged me this,
“Yes, much better. In fact, everyone I spoke to yesterday told me that I sounded “more relaxed than they have ever heard me!”
Running our energy is vital to our health. Exercise, Yoga, Acupuncture, Qi Gong and Tai Chi are all ways we can run our energy and regulate ourselves. They combine awareness with breath with movement. This results in regulating our vagus nerve leaving us feeling calm and grounded.
A regulated body is a healthy body. When we are in balance, we don’t get sick. Our immune system is charged. We feel strong, positive and healthy. In short, if our energy is regulated, we are at our best. This is where we get things done, are most creative and manage life’s challenges with ease.
So get out and do some forest bathing. Allow your body to absorb the beauty and feel the calm sedative effects. The photo featured above was from a hike we did this Saturday along Qualicum River, Horne Lake.