“When was the last time you strolled in a forest or walked through woodland so beautiful it made you stop and marvel? When did you last notice the spring buds unfurling or look closely at the frost patterns on a winter leaf? I wonder, instead, how many hours you spent looking at a screen today…” — Dr. Qing Li
Dr. Li, Associate Professor at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo and Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine, has recently authored Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, a charming book that details Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing, which in Japan has become a widespread preventative therapy to assist in promoting one’s optimal health.
The human, regardless of nationality, is becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and more involved with technology, as indicated by the following statistics mentioned in Forest Bathing:
‣ “The urban population worldwide grew from just 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014…”
‣ “By 2050, 75 percent of the world’s projected 9 billion population will live in cities.”
‣ “…the average American now spends 93 percent of their time indoors…That makes only one half of one day spent outdoors in a week.”
‣ “…people in the US spend as much as ten hours and thirty-nine minutes a day consuming media.”
In reaction to these trends, Dr. Li sets before the reader the case for increasing one’s exposure to and time within a forest and includes scientific and well-documented research on the benefits of forest bathing that includes, among other things, a reduction of blood pressure, increased energy, the strengthening of the immune system, and heightened concentration.
And one need not spend countless hours in a forest; rather, an excursion of as little as two hours is sufficient time to reap some health benefits, which is welcome news considering the hectic nature of everyday life in the world today.
Interspersed among the book’s pages are wonderful pictures depicting beautiful trees and forest scenes, an addition that adds considerably to the beauty and appeal of this book.
The following is a selection of titles owned by the Louisville Free Public Library that provides ideas of where one might go locally and in the region to enjoy forest bathing:
- Five-Star Trails Louisville and Southern Indiana: Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes by Valerie Askren
- 50 hikes in Kentucky: From the Appalachian Mountains to the Land Between the Lakes by Hiram Rogers
- Hiking Kentucky: a Guide to 80 of Kentucky’s Greatest Hiking Adventures by Michael H. Brown
- 60 Hikes within 60 miles, Cincinnati: Including Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky by Tamara York
- Take a Walk, Louisville!: Nature Excursions In and Around Louisville, Kentucky by Lucynda Koesters
Formats Available: Book, eBook
Reviewed by Rob, Crescent Hill