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And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul” – John Muir

S hinrin-yoku – the Japanese practice of forest bathing has evolved around the world as a therapeutic practice that is good for both physical and mental wellbeing. Forest bathing has been proven to reduce the stress hormone production, improve feelings of calm and a sense of oneness with nature, as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure. It helps in boosting the immune system and accelerates recovery from illness. It is believed that even 30 minutes spent in a forest can have a profound effect on your body. It is also a soulful practice of connecting to oneself. Shinrin-yoku was developed in the 1980s in Japan. Although people had been taking walks in the forests for centuries all over the world. A chemical released by trees and plants, called phytoncides, was found to boost the immune system. As more research highlighted the benefits of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese government incorporated it into the country’s health programme.

A better way to frame forest bathing is, “ mindful time spent under the canopy of trees for health and wellbeing purposes.” In the 1990s, researchers began studying the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support what we innately know: time spent immersed in nature is good for us. While Japan is credited with the term shinrin-yoku, the concept at the heart of the practice is not new. Many cultures have long recognized the importance of the natural world to human health. 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 eco-therapy excursion.

Some of the best places on this planet to practice Forest bathing are Adirondack Mountains in New York, Costa Rica, Kenya, Hawaii and New Zealand. New Zealand has some jewels such as the beautiful Waipoua forest in the North Island where the oldest and largest Kauri trees in the world live. Sacred to Māori people, Kauri is considered “protectors of the forest.” Footprints Waipoua organizes walks among the kauri trees including the Twilight Encounter, led by Māori guides. However to experience forest bathing from a bird’s eye perspective, you can come and experience Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua, New Zealand. This suspended ecological walk captures the beauty and ambience of the forest and is a beautiful destination for nature lovers and soul searchers.

This jewel is just 5 minutes away from the City Centre in Rotorua. It is open 7 days from 9 am till late , rain or shine and covers 700 meters, 28 suspension bridges, 27 platforms to create a beautiful suspended experience a must do for all age groups. This award winning eco-tourism treewalk offers a Daytime and an iconic Redwood Nightlife Treewalk (Redwoods Treewalk and David Trubridge Design have partnered to create an iconic nocturnal tourism experience: the Redwoods Nightlights.) Walk high among the majestic 118-year-old Redwood trees during a daytime or night-time treewalk and breathe in the forests. Nuture your mind, body and soul while you bathe in the lust green settings offered by Mother Nature.

The Daytime treewalk is an immersive, breathtaking and extraordinary 40 min trail on suspended bridges open to families and all that can walk unaided. The bridges range from heights of 9 to 20 meters giving extraordinary views of New Zealand’s silver fern and exotic forests. This tranquil and serene walk caters to all fitness levels. The Redwood Nightlife is a mesmerizing, magical and enchanting experience that offers a world class design led tourism by illuminating the entire tree walk with 30 lanterns exquisitely crafted from wood echoing back the design of the forest to create a wonderland and an out worldly experience. The Redwoods Treewalk is situated within the majestic and magical Whakarewarewa Forest. The forest covers around 5600 hectares and is home to towering trees with a mix of different species including the Californian Redwood. The forest’s proximity to thermal areas and lakes builds up for some breathtaking panoramic views. It offers a lot of recreational activities like mountain biking, walks, dog walks, strolls, tree walks etc. Only until the1970’s was th forest opened for public recreational activities and since then it has become the soul of the city attracting nearly 60,000 visitors a year. I an avid forest lover myself have visited this attraction a couple of times and will give it a 5 star rating. It’s a must do when in Rotorua , New Zealand

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