Improve your mental, physical health with ‘forest bathing’

Life can get a little overwhelming from time to time. UT Extension wants you to know that a simple walk in the woods can benefit both your mental and physical health.

Life can get a little overwhelming from time to time, and The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Extension is promoting a natural technique to try next time you are overstimulated and need a clear mind: “Forest Bathing.”

Forest bathing, a type of nature therapy, is as simple as walking among tall trees. The mindfulness practice is inspired by the Japanese practice Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to “making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest.”

Not only can forest bathing ease stress, and improve cardiovascular health, but it also encourages people to connect with the natural world around them and learn more about the forest.

“It makes that connection when you’re in the forest because being on the forest bathing walk, you’re sort of attuned to the trees around you,” said Lee Anne Faust of Sumner County, who is one of the leaders of the forest bathing program offered by the UT Extension. Faust hopes to promote better health and give people an appreciation for the beauty of the area through the program.

The Sumner County Health Department is also a partner with UT Extension for this nature bathing program in Sumner County. Health experts with the department say this mental health break provided by this therapeutic practice is helpful.

“It brings you out in nature and just makes you take a pause for a moment and just think about how nice life could be if you’re not hectic and busy,” says Charlotte Gerrard with the Sumner County Health Department.

UT Extension plans to offer more forest bathing sessions in the fall when the leaves change color. For updates on upcoming forest bathing events in Sumner County, click here.

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