The One Liner

Shinrin-Yoku/ Forest Bathing Is A Wellness Treat From Japan. Can India Recreate The Same And Boost Its Eco-Tourism?

“He who plants a tree, plants a hope”– this wonderful quote by Luci Larcom is not only just an adage today but proved to be a full-fledged truth for the upcoming years tomorrow. 

The hope is both survival, emotional, and mental. This Hope for a better tomorrow has spread beyond the Earth to encompass the mental well-being of everyone in the world.

You may wonder and ask “How?” My answer will be a Japanese physiological and psychological exercise; named “Shinrin-Yoku”.

The Secret of Shinrin-Yoku

What will be the idea if I ask to promote mental well-being and wellness just by having a walk? But “Shirin-Yoku” has more specialized qualities. This Japanese forest bathing is more than just having a normal walk, it is a unique yet mindful process to smell Mother Earth and appreciate nature’s warmth.


Here “bath” is not taking a literal bath but surrounding and absorbing yourself with the embracement of nature’s wonderful creations through your five senses. 

 Shirin-Yoku is a practical application of Let nature’s ambiance wash over you”. Starting in the 1980s, the introduction of Japanese nature therapy; ie. Shinrin-Yoku was appreciated by a large number of scholars. Still, this practice is an extensive study for research enthusiasts. 

The idea is simple, take a day off from your hustle-bustleful life, and explore your mindfulness in a large, dense forest. Spend time with nature, and feel the unmatchable vibe of bird chirpings and nature’s enchanting beauty. It’s all about being present in the moment.

Unlike traditional hiking, Japanese meditation is slightly different. Shinrin-Youku is less about physical exercise and more about mental and intuitional manifestation. Slow walking, deep breaths, and engaging with the five senses are required for participants.

Can India Boost ‘Eco-Tourism’ through Forest Bathing?

In India, this practice is ancient and something which has already made its path. Just like any other meditative practice in India, forest meditation spread its way across the nation. But, people are less aware. Very few people know this concept. 

Other than this, there are no ample forests in our countryside to boost one’s mental health and fitness which, are purely dedicated to people, who want to devote their mental and physical energy without exercising much. 

India, the motherland of every meditative practice should not restrict itself from having a significant contribution to Forest Bathing. Now the question lies, “Where and Which forests are suitable for Forest Bathing in India?”

The national parks in India where plants and animals are protected together, can be a great opportunity to develop India’s eco-tourism if, it is proposed to be used for Forest Meditation. 

Some of them are listed below:

National Parks of India for Forest Bathing

1. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand

India’s first national park, Corbett was established in 1936 by legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett. It’s located around three hours from Nainital and seven hours from Delhi. The park is a large one and has five zones. One zone, Jhirna, is open all year round. The calm atmosphere, especially the Monsoon year is best to have a forest bathing in Jim Corbett.

Forest Bathing
Forest Bathing

2. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

Sundarbans, one of the top tourist places in West Bengal, has a magnificent tangle of mangrove jungle that’s the largest in the world. The Indian part is made up of 102 islands and just over half of them are inhabited. The Sundarbans is only accessible by boat and exploring it this way is a thrilling experience that shouldn’t be missed. The large forest density makes it appropriate for being a Forest Bathing hub.

3. Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha

Bhitarkanika is India’s second largest mangrove ecosystem after the Sunderbans. The National park is essentially a network of creeks and canals that are inundated with waters from rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, and Patasala forming a unique ecosystem. The beautiful fountains and nature-loving ambiance should be one of the priorities for Forest Bathing.

4. Bandipur National Park, Karnataka

One of the most famous national parks in south India, Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It was once the private hunting ground of the Maharajas of Mysore. This substantial 870 square kilometer park receives a lot of tourists as it’s located on the way to Ooty from Mysore. It does have tigers, although they’re rarely sighted. The natural beauty attracts tourists and can easily be considered a Forest Meditation zone.

5. Gir National Park, Gujarat

Besides Africa, Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place in the world where you can spot lions roaming free in the wild. The real discovery channel of India is situated approximately 65 km southeast of Junagarh District. The Government notified the large geographical extent of Sasan Gir as a wildlife sanctuary on 18th September 1965 to conserve the Asiatic Lion. However, apart from the jeep safari, the Bakula region is a great natural forest place to try forest bathing. 

Benefits of Forest Bathing

As previously mentioned forests and trees are effective in uplifting people’s overall choices and happiness. Forest Bathing proved to have benefits in two sectors. One, Mental Health, and the other, Physical Health. 

1. Improves your Mental Health

There are several positive effects on mental health and well-being when it comes to researching ‘Forest Bathing’ benefits. 

At Derby University, a nature connectedness research group aimed to delve into the nuances of Forest Bathing and conducted a meta-study of it.


A study found out that such bathing supports the ‘3 circles model’. The circles imply the Pursuit of joy, the Feeling of calmness, and the absence of threats. These three emotions are influenced by three different hormones. 

They realised that our connection to the forest was emotional. Nature balances these three circles. This results in happiness and better mental health which affects our physical health too. 

2. Improves Physical Health

Forest Bathing offers some surprising benefits to your physical wellbeing including lowering your blood pressure, boosting your immune system, and helping you to recover from illness and trauma more quickly.

In 2016, a meta-study concluded that the research available ‘shows a significant effect of Shinrin Yoku on reduction of blood pressure.’ Lower blood pressure keeps your heart healthy, preventing cardiovascular problems such as angina, strokes, and heart attacks.

The natural chemicals released by trees, known as phytoncides, have been found to improve mood and decrease anxiety. Additionally, the practice can enhance focus, creativity, and overall well-being.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell

In a fast-paced, technology-driven world, Shinrin-Yoku provides a means to reconnect with nature and find inner peace. It invites individuals to slow down, be present, and appreciate the healing power of the natural environment.

Forest bathing is not just for the wilderness-lover; the practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. For a more structured experience, you can join trained guides for a meditative two- to three-hour ecotherapy excursion.

When it comes to India, it would be beneficial for our people to learn about Forest Bathing. Otherwise, despite having a dedicated eco-therapy forest, we may miss out on the opportunity.

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