The Healing Benefits of Nature Bathing
When you think of water, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?
Perhaps something to drink? Rivers and lakes? Floods and rainstorms? Baths and showers?
The Healing Benefits of Water and Nature
Water is more than just a fluid we can see, taste and hear. As with all the elements, it is mysterious and powerful. Yet it also lives inside of us – it is estimated that humans are made up of 65% water. Therefore, wouldn’t it stand to reason that, as water makes up such a large proportion of us, it would have a powerful effect on our mental, emotional and physical state?
How Water Connects to Our Soul
Astrology made this connection many years ago – water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are traditionally powerfully linked to their emotions with the ability to look beneath the surface and explore hidden depths. People with a lot of water in their natal chart tend to be sensitive, creative and emotional, also possessing a keen sixth sense.
Skipping forward to 2004 and science made an even more fascinating discovery which more or less affirms what astrology discovered thousands of years ago. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese Scientist; published his book ‘The Hidden Messages in the Water.’ Masaru claimed in his book that water is affected by thoughts, feelings, words, music and even intentions.
He demonstrated with high-speed photography that when a negative thought/feeling/intention/piece of music or word was directed to water, the shape of frozen crystals in the water would change. The same would happen with positive thoughts etc. when they were directed to the water. The negative aspects would cause the crystals to look – to put it simply – vile, while the positive aspects caused the crystals to look enchanting, like snowflakes.
While Emoto’s experiment was widely ridiculed at the time, fifteen years later his discoveries have been accepted by many in the scientific community. What this tells us is that water is more than just an element – it is directly affected by the physical world.
As our bodies are made up of an estimated 65% water, we can only imagine what kind of impact negative words, environments, feelings and thoughts have on our bodies. That is why everything we say and do, and everything others say and do to us can have such a profound effect on us. Water is directly linked to our emotions and when our emotions are ‘damaged’ in some way, it can descend into mental and physical illnesses, including chronic illness.
How Nature Bathing Can Help
Nature can attempt to help heal the damage inflicted on the water in our bodies, and this is where nature bathing comes in. Step into a forest or take a solitary walk in the park; how does it make you feel? Relaxation tends to come naturally when immersing oneself in nature (as many discover with earthing). Nature bathing is unique in the sense that it uses the power of nature to target the emotional, mental and physical stresses and damage we have suffered in an attempt to help heal them.
Do not think of it as a real bath, as you do not have to undress to connect to the nature around you. It involves immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and feel of the nature around you as if you were slowly slipping into a warm bath after a hard day.
It is based on ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ a Japanese technique developed in the 1980s which encourages an individual to spend time among a forest, woodland or other area of nature which has been untouched and unspoiled and simply use your five senses to take in your surroundings. You do not have to spend time in a hot spring or shallow pond (though you can if you want to). There does not have to be actual ‘water bathing’ involved. Instead, it is a case of walking among the trees, smelling the air, looking at the greenery, touching the bark and listening to the sound of nature all around you.
Nature bathing has been said to have a wealth of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, lowering cortisol levels, restoring mood, rejuvenating energy, and clearer minds. It is said to be particularly helpful for people who have busy or stressful lives in the cities.
Mantras for Bathing in Nature
During nature bathing, it is also common to repeat mantras to yourself as you reconnect with nature.
These are common words used during nature bathing. As you walk through the forest, woodland, sandy beach or wherever else among nature, bathing in its very presence, you are aligning your internal energies with something very old and ancient – the spirit of nature.
We are no different to animals at heart – nature is the home we originated from and it is deeply embedded within us, regardless of what era we live in. An animal that is free to roam among nature is an animal that is happiest and at peace with itself because it is in its natural habitat. It’s the same with humans – if we spend too long away from nature, something deep within us feels lost and disconnected.
So, the next time you have a free day or weekend, or you feel particularly stressed or uneasy, try a spot of nature bathing. You don’t have to travel too far; even in the cities, there are parks, rivers, and greenery. Walk among the trees and grass while repeating a word of your choice that helps you feel calm and at peace. The results of nature bathing are different for everyone but have already helped so many.