From Tokyo – Japan
From the Japanese Alps
To Hez forest in France with love
This article is not based on a scientific study. It’s the opportunity to pay tribute to my father and a sad observation that I miss the forest now that I live in Tokyo. I’d like to share my experience and some easy common sense tips with the salon, spa and wellness centers to help them satisfy the needs of their clientèle.
When I arrived in Japan, I was astonished by the importance of Shirin-Yoku or forest bathing. This Japanese concept exists since ages but gained momentum recently in the wellness industry. I invite you to read the numerous articles you can find on the web. Here I will add my personal touch. You will soon understand that my ignorance or the one of my father could well be the same for your clients … Up to you to enlighten them about this topic!
Indeed, when I returned to France this summer and that people asked me about my father’s health I would answer; “well, I think the fact that he spends so much time in forest helps him to recover”. At that point I didn’t know anything about forest bathing and its benefits on health and cancer recovery. I was just relying on my intuition. The reading of Forest Bathing from Dr Qing Li was an eye opener. I’m now 100% convinced that the quick recovery of my father is thanks to the trees. My father is a cancer survivor (2 lung cancers and one liver cancer) and he is still among us or – I should say – still in the forest.
Please find my father’s interview. My father is 70 years old. He is a three-time cancer survivor in the past 5 years. Nature has always been his passion and he is a blood dog driver since he retired.
- How much time do you spend in the forest?
On average 4 hours a day from September to March and 2 hours a day the rest of the year.
- Do you have an idea of your pace and your distance?
About 4 km/h, on average 10 km per day.
- Are you mostly alone or with someone else? Do you speak?
With someone but we hardly speak.
- What do you prefer in the forest and which season do you like the most?
The silence and autumn and winter are my favorite seasons
- In what kind of forest do you walk? How big? What is the fauna and flora?
Forest of beeches, oaks and pine woods of 50 à 15000 hectares. Wildlife: wild boars and deers.
- What do you feel after one day looking for wounded animals in the forest?
A strong sensation of wellbeing and satisfaction of accomplished duty (to make sure animals suffer the least possible from their wounds).
- Can you tell us why you are so often in the forest?
I’m so often in the forest because it relaxes me and connects me with nature and I can practice my hobbies: search of wounded animals after hunting, mushroom and chestnuts harvesting, animal footprint exploring …
- Would you be in the forest as much without those hobbies?
Probably not as I wouldn’t be as motivated.
- Are you sometimes standing still?
- If yes, do you find it long? Do you get bored?
In the forest, time goes by quickly. You never feel alone (animals, noises, moves). There is presence everywhere.
- Are you listening to the noises? which ones? Can you tell what it is?
Yes I listen to the sound of nature: the calls of birds, the sound of the wind blowing, the light sound of branches swaying in the wind, the sound of any moves…
- Do you use your phone?
No, only in case of emergency.
- Do you have the feeling that the fact that you spend so much time in the forest helped you to recover?
My oncologist is convinced that it contributed to my quick recovery and that it helps me to stay in good health today.
- Do you know Shirin-Yoku or forest bathing?
- Did you make a link between your recovery and your time spent in the forest? Did you know that some research proves that forest bathing has anti-cancer benefits?
Not immediately. I discover it now…
A forest bath at the spa
There is certainly a forest not far away from your spa. If not a forest, a parc or a beautiful lookout. Don’t hesitate to prescribe forest bathing to your customers. Put some trails and how to forest bath tips on your menu. Organise the journey, book a guide … Your clients come to you for help, make it easy for them. We are no longer living in the time of my father but in the digital era which disconnects us from the nature and the essence of life. It’s up to you to fill this gap and to make sure your client leaves your spa happier, relaxed and energized. Explain them that being in the forest reduces stress, improves the mood, reduces blood pressure, increases concentration and creativity, boosts the immune system and improves sleep. Trees can heal… Put some specialised books at their disposal like Forest Bathing from Dr. Qing Li. Do some research, there are probably some forest bathing experts around you. Invite them to speak at your spa. Your clients will be grateful.
And what about the impact on your skin? Stress is the number one cause of premature aging. A forest bath to reoxygenate the skin and to give back its natural glow is a must. Add it to your client skincare routine. This bath will come as an adds-on to your cosmetic prescription. What an unforgettable experience for your guest! Go outside of the spa and come back better!
My forest-bathing: Autumn 2018
I just came back from one week in the Japanese Alps where I did forest bathing with my family. One week of no make-up and my skin has never looked so beautiful… We did the POM test (profile of mood test) and the results where mind-blowing. Please enjoy the beautiful pictures… I wish you a great moment of happiness and serenity.
I will end by saying that GlobalSpaTouch believes in a global approach of wellness and beauty and that forest bathing is only one of the track to combine with many others to feel good and to glow.