The positive feelings many people feel while being in Nature are well known, but the Japanese concept of “Shinrin-yoku”, or “Forest Bathing” takes the experience to another level.
Forest Bathing does not involve any particular exercise or activity beyond simply spending time in a forest. Among the benefits said to come from spending time in this way this are: lower blood pressure, stress reduction, improved mood and improved sleep. Making such visits to the forest a regular practice is said to be valuable in maintaining one’s overall health and happiness.
The Cowichan Valley is blessed with rich, verdant forests in which to “Forest Bathe”, for which I am thankful, but this concept is of particular interest to me as an artist as well.
I am inclined to believe that spending time surrounded by art has benefits similar to those said to be associated with spending time in the forest (stress reduction, improved mood etc.). During visits to great public art galleries while travelling in Europe; time seemed to slow down for me…quietly focusing on a particular work of art for minutes at a time can be a kind of meditation.
I look forward to having a Public Art gallery in the Cowichan Valley where art can work its healing magic on visitors.
For more on Forest Bathing and nature therapy: