How taking a bath in a forest can heal your hair…
As I have mentioned repeatedly healthy hair isn’t just about using a different shampoo or popping that particular pill. It is a 3-step process which gives equal importance to all 3 steps in my program “The complete guide to healthy hair. A 3-step program to heal your hair.” One of those steps is taking time for yourself, also the name I gave my blog, cause you have to take care of yourself first… always. As a very busy single mom I know how full a day in your life can be. In my case I recently moved into a new, much smaller place, with my daughter and cute cat Lazy. After my divorce I moved from a big house with lots of stuff to a much smaller townhouse where there was no space to stuff all my stuff. As you can imagine my house was packed with moving boxes (???) for about a month and I was about to completely lose it. Around that time I was also working very hard on the second promotion round for my book as the Antwerp book fair was approaching and preparing for new campaigns for my hairbrush brand Delphin & Emerence. On top of that I had to combine this with:
- being a mom to a girl that had to get settled into our new place and was starting out in high school
- since my mom passed away last year we still had to find ways to get everything done without her help… Mom, I miss you everyday…x
- getting our cat settled in since the move gave him so much stress his diabetes became worse which resulted in him doing his “thing” all around the house and even on our sofa and bed
- working as a freelancer since starting a hairbrush business is very money consuming… yep…being an entrepreneur takes a lot of effort and… money! The overnight success stories they tell you on FB? I have my doubts about those…
So you can imagine that I was going nuts! I had to find some inspiration to unwind myself. I have always loved walking but usually, time is limited, I go around the neighbourhood and the small park next to our house. But then I saw an article on the effects of Shinrin Yoku, a Japanese technique with lots of benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing. I just had to check this out.
I wanted to share my findings with you in this article.
What is Shinrin Yoku?
In Japan the term was first used around1982 and in Japanese shinrin means “forest” and yoku means “bath.” So if you put it together, shinrin plus yoku equals a bath in the forest bath meaning not literally soaking in a bathtub in the forest but rather “bathing” in a forest environment by taking in your surroundings using all of your senses. It is a form of “nature therapy.”
In Japan it is used as a form of preventative medicine.
What I particularly like about it is that when you practice forest bathing, you are not trying to compete with others to get a certain number of miles in the woods, no bragging needed about your results. Personally I really don’t like all the comparing between the triathlon/marathon/running crowd since going for a workout is something to relax from your already stressfull life not about creating extra stress. Rather, you are simply connecting with the nature around you, meaning that you also take time for yourself.
To have a so called forest bathe, you “plunge” into naturally beautiful and health-boosting forest surroundings by using all your senses: hearing, sight, smell, … It is super relaxing and it has even been scientifically shown to benefit your health. Isn’t that great?
What does it do for you?
It reduces Stress
When enter a forest you immediately notice the special smell in the air. That smell is created by compounds, called phytonicides that may have very positive effects on human beings. (source) A study published back in 2009 found that they can actually decrease stress hormone levels in both men and women. (Source) So take a deep breath and inhale that forest perfume.
Lower stress = better hair growth! I have said it so many times!
It boosts Immune Function
Those same phytonicides, which are some kind of antimicrobial essential oils straight from nature such as alpha-Pinene and limonene. (Source) Because of those compounds taking long and regular forest baths may stop a budding infection and boost your immune system. it also boosts activity of white blood cells, your body’s army against infections, virusses and tumor cells. You can read the full study here.
For growing long and/or healthy hair having a strong immune system is crucial to avoid inflammation in your scalp.
It lowers Blood Pressure
For nature lovers like me it seems quite “naturally logical” that Shinrin yoku forest bathing can help lower blood pressure. Being in a forest environment lowers stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline and produces an overall relaxing feeling. The full scientific study that backs this can be read through this link. But I guess that my message is enough to get you out there in the woods. (source)
It’s a Mental Health Booster
So many studies have demonstrated how spending time outdoors can boost your mental health. We live in cities and have almost no connection anymore with nature. No wonder we are stressed and so are or kids who play inside instead of building camps in the woods like I did as a child. One particular study concluded that participants who took a simple 90-minute nature walk reported “lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment.” (source)
So get out there in the woods to give you more energy and ward of stress, depression and anxiety.
It helps you to “solve” things
I mention in my book that everytime I am “stuck” like to find the right words for an article or to create a new campaign for my brush-line Delphin & Emerence, I made it a habit to get outside to take a walk in a green environment. It helps me every single time.
Do you need more reasons to get out there? And when you come back have a sip of my delicious herbal tea blend I wrote about in my book.
PS check out my daughter Gina in the picture below… isn’t she adorable??7