Best Essential Oils for Forest Bathing
‘Forest Bathing’ with essential oils is an easy way to bring the soothing power of trees into your home. When you’re feeling tired or down, the scents of many natural botanicals are uplifting and invigorating. Having some of the best essential oils for forest bathing on hand may be just what you need!
What is Forest Bathing?
I recently read the book ‘The Japanese Art and Science of Shinrin-Yoku: Forest Bathing’ by Dr. Qing Li, Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine. It was fascinating to read and I found myself yearning to move into a small cabin in a forest!
Much of my childhood was spent outdoors wandering around the woods and fields of my Grandparents’ farm. So the premise that spending time in the forest is good for us resonates with me. It certainly matches my experience.
Researchers have found evidence that spending mindful time in a forest helps to boost mood and creativity, and even improve our health. In other words, it cleanses our minds of stress and negativity. Some of you may not need the support of researchers to believe that spending time in natural areas, such as the woods, is good for our minds and bodies. However, if you would like to read more about the studies on this subject, I highly recommend reading Dr. Qing Li’s book.
He suggests spending mindful time in a forest using all of your senses to experience nature. Listen to the birds and the wind in the leaves. Look at the different shades of green and the sunlight filtering through the trees. Breathe in the scent of trees and earth. Taste the fresh air and breathe deeply. Run your hands over tree bark and touch the grass.
Try to take time each day to walk outdoors in a park or natural area. If this isn’t possible, make time on weekends or spend your vacations connecting with nature.
What if You Don’t Have Access to a Forest?
Many people live in urban areas and don’t have a forest or even a park nearby. There are other ways to enjoy the benefits of nature, even in a tiny apartment! Here are some ways you may use the uplifting power of nature on a small scale in your home or neighborhood:
- Keep houseplants in your window
- Place cedarwood shavings in a sachet in your closet or dresser drawers
- Keep your windows clean to allow in more sunlight
- Open your windows to allow fresh air into your home
- Place photos or artwork depicting natural scenery in your home and workplace
- Take your lunch to the park
- Spend less time looking at your phone, tv, or computer screen and go outside
- Hang a calendar with photos of trees near your desk
- Stay in touch with the seasons, notice the changes in the air
- Listen to sounds of nature on a cd
- Place a small fountain in your home or on your patio for the sound of water
- Burn a naturally scented candle or incense
- Go for a walk before work or on the weekend
- Plant trees in your neighborhood, or join a community garden
- Use essential oils in your home for their calming and uplifting effect
Some of these suggestion are from Dr. Qing Li’s book and some are my own.
What Are the Best Essential Oils for Forest Bathing?
Many essential oils have a calming, uplifting, or invigorating effect on our mental state. You may use essential oils in a diffuser, homemade air freshener, body spray, hand salve, or other DIY products for the home or bath and body.
Here are some of the essential oils from trees and shrubs that I like to use for a forest bathing effect right in the comfort of my own home:
- Fir needle
- Tea Tree
In addition to these essential oils, you may also use lavender, bergamot, rosemary, lemon, orange, and patchouli in your home for the mental lift they provide.
Create a Super Easy Essential Oil Diffuser
For a quick diffuser for your essential oils, place a scoop of course salt (Epsom salt or Himalayan pink salt works well) in an open container. Add several drops of any of the above essential oils to the salt. Place your diffuser in a spot where the sunlight will warm the essential oils and release their scent.
Stir the salts or add more essential oils when the scent begins to fade. I use a salt diffuser like this in my home and usually add more oil every 3 or 4 days. Try placing a diffuser on your nightstand or your desk.
Forest Bathing with Essential Oils for Everyday
Even if you live on a homestead, it’s not always possible to spend as much time forest bathing or communing with nature as we’d like. For urban homesteaders, it’s even more difficult. Whenever possible, I highly recommend going to a natural forest to immerse yourself in a true forest bathing experience.
For everyday life, there are many ways to bring the scents, sights, and sounds of the forest into your home. You might find that your mood improves, you feel less stressed, and you sleep better with the use of forest bathing essential oils!
For more information about forest bathing, visit the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.
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