Shinrin-yoku (森林浴)


Definition: A Japanese term that means “forest bathing”. The idea being that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine, since it lowers stress, which causes or exacerbates some of our most intractable health issues. The “magic” behind forest bathing boils down to the naturally produced allelochemic substances known as phytoncides, which are kind of like pheromones for plants. Their job is to help ward off pesky insects and slow the growth of fungi and bacteria. When humans are exposed to phytoncides, these chemicals are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and boost the growth of cancer-fighting white blood cells. Some common examples of plants that give off phytoncides include garlic, onion, pine, tea tree and oak, which makes sense considering their potent aromas.

Usage: Jasmine became depressed as she was no longer able to partake in Shinrin-yoku after they cut down her local forest to make way for new high rise condos.

Origin: Japanese 森林浴 (shinrin-yoku しんりんよく, “forest bathing”), from Middle Chinese 森林 (ʂim-lim “forest”) + 浴 (jowk “bathe”). Existing word.

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