Loop walk – the Wood and Ancient Thermal pools
1. Wood – former fitness park
Loop route length:
Distance from the end:
Walking in the woods, surrounded by shady presences and immersed in silence makes you feel good.
You find calm by letting go of thoughts, problems and tensions, you make peace with yourself.
Move slowly, stop, breathe deeply and enjoy the scents of the forest, the coolness in the air, the soft sounds, the presence of life all around you.
Touch the moss, the grass, a flower, choose a tree that attracts you and feel its presence, the solidity of the trunk, the veins of the bark - if you feel like it, embrace it.
Find your place in the wood and sit or lie on the grass, among the leaves. You can play with twigs, stones, seeds, the small objects that you find around you, get lost in your thoughts and memories, go back to being a child.
Look at the sky among the branches and leaves, close your eyes, relax, maybe sing a melody that resurfaces from the depths to express your presence, your essence ...
You are experiencing the forest bathing effect!
The practice of Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing, or Feeling Inside the Forest Atmosphere) was born in 1982 in Japan, as a physiological and psychological exercise with the dual aim of offering an ecological antidote to techno-boom burnout and inspiring the population to reconnect with nature and protect forests. The concept at the core of the practice is surely not new; in many cultures around the world, the importance of nature for human health has always been acknowledged. However, the many studies carried out since the 1990s have provided scientific proof of how exposure to the forest habitat is beneficial for health; it fosters mood improvement and attention focusing, prompts the reduction of adrenaline production, helps to regulate blood pressure and induces a state of calm and mental rest. All of this happens thanks to the influence of terpenes (or phytoncides), volatile aromatic substances produced and released by trees, mainly to defend themselves from attacks by parasites and other pathogens. These substances, which we breathe and absorb when we are in the forest, stimulate the increase in the quantity of NK cells (Natural Killer - white blood cells involved in the modulation and activation of immune responses). In addition to defending us from external attacks, NK cells can recognize and eliminate cancer cells, and appear to help fight inflammation and infection. It has also been shown that the number and activity of these cells increases with the time spent in the forest: for example, after three nights there is an increase from 17% to 27%.
For further information: FOREST BATHING: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li, published on April 17, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Qing Li, 2018.