While we were working on the first draft of our book Spiritual Literacy, our editor only put one plea in the margins: "Enough with the trees already!" She did not get how much we loved, admired, and looked to these beings as examples of beauty, transformation, and wisdom. Many in Japan would agree with us.
In the 1980s the Japanese government set out to encourage citizens to practice "Forest Bathing." The idea is to have people calm down by immersing themselves in nature. Cyndi Gilbery, the author of this handy and helpful little book, is a naturopathic physician who calls herself "a nemophilist." She has experienced many health-promoting benefits from forest bathing.
The author marvels at the presence, the beauty, and the silence of the forest along with its clean, fresh air. In America, people of all ages are finding new experiences in the natural world through camping, visits to spas and thermal waters, and picnicking. Norwegians have developed a kind of "open-air living" they call "Friluftsliv."
Gilbery ranges widely as she discusses this fascinating cultural phenomenon. She covers what forest bathing is, why you should do it, how to forest bathe, and forest bathing as a way of life. She also shares solitary and community exercises for both body and mind.