Shinrin-Yoku Is More Than a Walk in the Woods

Written by | Wellness

woodland pond

The health benefits of a very different kind of “bathing.”

The Japanese call it “shinrin-yoku” or ”forest bathing,” and it may sound like a walk in the park, but it’s actually much more. Studies show that spending time in a wooded setting can help the body break down glucose and fatty
acids, boost the immune system, improve
cognitive function and reduce stress.

Though the tradition dates back to ancient Buddhist temples, the Forest Agency of Japan first proposed modern-day forest bathing trips in 1982. Since then, this health booster has become quite popular in Japan and is now starting to take off in the states.

For example, the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC, has created a vacation they call “Wellness in the Woods,” which takes advantage of the abundant natural beauty of neighboring William B. Umstead State Park. This two-night escape pairs a guided hike through the serene, green woodland with a spa day and private outdoor yoga session. Spa options include a full body Babassu Sugar Scrub, a Swedish Massage, a European Facial, and a Classic Manicure and Pedicure.

Participants are also invited to join additional yoga classes and enjoy the property’s other amenities, including the trail surrounding the three-acre lakeside resot (pictured). Learn more at

Last modified: June 11, 2018