May 18, 2016

"Those that practice Shinrin-yoku explain that it differs from hiking or informative nature excursions because it centers on the therapeutic aspects of forest bathing."

"So whereas a nature walk’s objective is to provide informational content and a hike’s is to reach a destination, a Shinrin-yoku walk’s objective is to give participants an opportunity to slow down, appreciate things that can only be seen or heard when one is moving slowly, and take a break from the stress of their daily lives," said Ben Page, a certified forest therapy guide who founded Shinrin Yoku Los Angeles.

Shinrin-yoku = "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing."
“In Japan, Shinrin-yoku trails are certified by a blood-sampling study to determine whether the natural killer cell count is raised enough for the trail to qualify,” Page said. “I should also note that in Japan and Korea, forest therapy modalities are integrated into their medical system and are covered by insurance.”
Everything's getting medicalized... and not to bullshit you... but also to get to the insurance money.

66 comments:

Original Mike said...

"a Shinrin-yoku walk’s objective is to give participants an opportunity to slow down, appreciate things that can only be seen or heard when one is moving slowly, and take a break from the stress of their daily lives,"

Sounds like why I used to hunt.

Paddy O said...

Now they give a lovely outdoors walk a fancy title and fill a leisurely stroll with all sorts of therapeutic informational content.

Just go for a walk! It's fine, you don't need permission by licensed professionals.

Paddy O said...

It really is an excuse for paid guides to not have to provide informational content as they lead a group of people who need a guide for whenever they go for a walk outside.

Ann Althouse said...

Based on the video that I added, I would be willing to be less scoffing toward this activity if it was directed at people with fairly serious mental disabilities, such as dementia.

The other thought I had watching the video is why can't they just let us take LSD. It would be lot cheaper, but I guess there's a government jobs-creation concept that could go somewhere. Being a forest therapy guide looks like an incredibly easy job... so easy you could probably do it while on LSD... do it better.

Quaestor said...

I just invented Nihil therapy. Got a vague problem that vexes you in a vague and totally self-referential way? Apply for Nihil therapy through your Obamacare provider.

Unknown said...

It was the virtue-signaling hats that made me think I will never, ever, ever do this. Except maybe with the NJ nursing home social worker lady. She seemed cool.

traditionalguy said...

Gaia approves. Our Global Government needs a Global Religion to support it.

tim in vermont said...

Walking in the woods with my Hillbilly dad, who would have been 100 this year, and who's hillbilly mother was born soon after the Civil War was an education on natural remedies I only wish I had absorbed more from. He wanted me to go to Cornell and study botany.

Rick said...

a certified forest therapy guide

Or hippie for short. Seriously, a certified hippie.

Curious George said...

"to give participants an opportunity to slow down, appreciate things that can only be seen or heard when one is moving slowly, and take a break from the stress of their daily lives,"

That used to be an weekday evening nine at Odana.

tim in vermont said...

Ok his father was born then, his mother was born 1880.

Ann Althouse said...

"Just go for a walk! It's fine, you don't need permission by licensed professionals."

Apparently, from the video, you need the guide to get you to walk super-slowly -- like 2 hours for 1 mile.

Why can't you just set out to take a very slow walk? I could imagine this as a city thing for hipsters. Doing a super-slow walk (akin to tai chi). But be careful in NYC. I've been punched in the back by a person (a lady!) who didn't appreciate my interference with the brisk flow set by the other pedestrians.

Another way to shake up America is slow driving. Try it! I mean, first figure out how to say it in Japanese. osoi unten? (That's from an internet translator.) Slow walking is osoi hokō. Can I get some money for thinking that up? Try walking very slowly downtown today and if anyone asks you what you're doing say that it's osoi hokō.

Real Japanese speakers -- correct my translation if it's bad.

Quaestor said...

...a certified forest therapy guide

Ann Althouse said...

"Except maybe with the NJ nursing home social worker lady. She seemed cool."

Yes, because she was working in the context where it makes sense -- with Alzheimer's patients.

cubanbob said...

ObamaCare isn't circling the drain fast enough for some people. Let's get certified bullshitters to hasten the collapse.

Ann Althouse said...

If it's a bath, why aren't they naked?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If it's a bath, why aren't they naked?

It's called freehiking. ( Although apparently freehiking has two meanings, the other being off-trail hiking ).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wow...what a novel idea. (sarcasm) Up here it is called taking a walk in the woods. Ambling along. Sitting quietly and listening to the birds and other animals. Observing the frogs and the moss on the rocks. Dipping your feet in the stream. Eating that apple you brought with you and drinking some clean cold water.

I even do this in on my own property when I amble about inspecting the roses, fruit trees and other vegetation. Sit quietly on my deck under the shade of the wild plum tree and watch the birds at the feeders and laugh at the humming bird wars. Man those little guys are aggressive!

Maybe we should have patented it?

rhhardin said...

If you slow down in the forsest, the mosquitos get you, before mid August.

Char Char Binks said...

A Japanese name changes everything.

Fernandinande said...

I guess I do that every day, 'cept I call it "letting the dogs run around in the woods". But I really don't like decreasing my urinary adrenaline concentration.

MadisonMan said...

And this one isn't The Onion!

Howard said...

Apparently, one of the things therapy guides learn is how to sound like a child molester.

Bob Boyd said...

It's all very spiritual until one your fellow bathers raises his hand asks if it's okay to shit in the tub.

Paddy O said...

So the professionals are less like guides and more like sheep-dogs? Do they nip at people's heels if they start walking too fast or wander off from gazing at the Officially Designated Objects?

Also, have we considered that maybe the trees and plants and birds may not want to be stared at? What kind of aggressive atmosphere are we projecting into this environment that is causing stress for the differently-conscious life forms?

This kind of environmental appropriation is troubling to me. I'd feel much better if the licensed guide was a bear or a cricket or, even better, a raven.

Gabriel said...

A lot of states require that insurance cover "alternative medicine", because a lot of legislators believe in it.

Gabriel said...

@Dust Bunny Queen:the humming bird wars

I also enjoy the Hummingbird Warz. You know too that hummingbirds have these incredibly epic-sounding name for these wars and indeed themselves. Yesterday I watched Calamitous Earth-Shatterer fighting Demon-Thundering Blood Knight. The Blood Knight as usual was victorious but Calamitous Earth-Shatterer has vowed eternal revenge.

buwaya puti said...

The point here, like in most of these things, isn't the doing, it's the be seen to be doing. Or, just as important, the talk about the doing.
Social signaling in other words.
Which is what we are all also up to, posting here.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Ruby-throats are a**holes. That is all.
A few summers ago I discovered that if I was using a mist sprayer hose-end up on the deck, hummingbirds would come and fly through the spray. Sometime later I discovered that if I was watering with the WRONG SPRAY TYPE they would still come, but then would hover around me and loudly threaten lawsuits if I didn't put out the RIGHT SPRAY pretty damn quick.

David said...

Come to think of it, my wife is medicalizing our dog because she is taking the dog to classes so the dog can be certified as a therapy dog. The classes are directed at dog behavior and manners and teaching the handler how to be sure the dog exhibits good manners with strangers. Generally our dog already has this so the classes are mostly to routinize the dog's natural temperament.

The "therapy" involves taking the dog to nursing and retirement homes where the dog will interact with residents and patients. (How this affects patients with fear of dogs is not explained.) Anyway it's really good for the dog. She loves the training sessions and will love the interaction with the people too.

The class is free to participants. No fee is charged by the dogs or the dog handers to perform the therapy. Completely without visible government intervention and support. So far. (We need to show that the dog is licensed, current on inoculations and free of adverse health conditions, so that actually costs us something. This is required by the patient facilities. Are they complying with a regulation?)

Fred Drinkwater said...

I work with a number of startups in the medical biz. The absolute #1 priority for all of them is to identify the reimbursement codes that apply to their product, or to have a clear path to getting new codes assigned. The whole biz is driven by insurance regulation.
Occasionally I see one where the product is OTC and cash-on-the-barrel. Folks in those firms always look happier.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The forest isn't relaxing. The forest is scary, filled with predators and other dangerous animals.

The woods, now, sure--they're nice to stroll through on a clean well-defined path with little danger of a deadly encounter around each bend.

Parks are nice. Nature is not nice. I'm willing to buy that getting to know nature (red in tooth and claw, etc) is mentally and spiritually fulfilling and/or important...but I doubt many people could find it "relaxing," especially not at first.

buwaya puti said...

Althouse should charge, as a reimbursable medical therapy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I heard an interesting discussion once (I think it was on the Cracked web series After Hours) about how the location of a culture's horror stories tells you about that culture's psychology. They pointed out that American horror stories traditionally took place in the forests/in very rural areas, whereas British horror stories traditionally took place in crowded cities/urban areas.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The humming birds spend so much energy defending a jar of sugary water. It is amazing.

There is always one big bully who wants to hog the whole thing for himself. We have two feeders around the deck hanging in the trees. The bully eventually, at great effort, dive bombs and drives the others away from his feeder. They just shrug, and probably laugh in hummingbird talk, while the others cooperate and go feed at the one he isn't defending.

He will notice this and GRRRRRRRRR off to drive them away from the feeder, whereon they then go back to the first one while he is defending his new conquest. What a dope! We laugh at him too. He is working so hard and always gets outsmarted by the others.

Endless entertainment.

JAORE said...

Shinrin-yoku translates to virtue signaling, insurance scam placebo.

Damn efficient language Japanese.

buwaya puti said...

Filipino horror stories are often about evil spirits that cause abortions. Or about unbaptized babies turning into evil spirits. You can see the themes here.
The other themes have a great deal about evil spirits attached to natural objects, doing mischief to those who wander into the wild.
I wonder what that says about the culture.

cubanbob said...

Blogger Gabriel said...
A lot of states require that insurance cover "alternative medicine", because a lot of legislators believe in it.

5/18/16, 10:43 AM"

One sensible solution towards bending the cost curve is allowing interstate health insurance sales and for one clever state to allow policies without all of the alternative medicine nonsense insurance requirements.

Sam L. said...

I take it, then, that they don't actually wash up in the forest.

JAORE said...

Another opportunity missed at my old High School Career Day.

Hey Bill, did you know that you can get yokels to pay you to walk slowly through the woods with them while you prattle on in that Aren't-I-the-Enlightened-One voice? You know, the fake one we practiced our Freshman year.

Prattle on? About what?

Talk about things like harmonics, energy or breathing in the "textures" of the air.

You mean like when you swallow a gnat?

No, no. Tell 'em it's spiritual. Of course they won't really FEEL textures, but they won't say that. No one wants to NOT be spiritual.

Yeah, but walking all day would get tiring. And the nearest large forest is a ways away.

Actually that is the beauty of this scam. You cover one mile in THREE to FOUR hours. So a wooded lot is almost large enough. You only cover two miles in an 8 hour day. And you can lean against a tree most of the time saying you are making a connection.

How about crystals? Will I need crystals?

No, dope. Crystals are so 20th century. The rubes are on to that scam.

OK, what's the down side? There has to be a down side.

Well you have to deal with the most self-righteous a-holes around. You also have to hold hands with a lot of strangers. And there will be hugging. Lots and lots of hugging. But those that hug the most are ripe for hitting up for donations.

Sounds good. How do you get into this.

You need two things. First a Japanese name. Everyone knows the orientals are spiritual. I think it's the Kung Foo training. Luckily for you I have that covered. Secondly you need to give a donation to my Spiritual Revival Foundation for the franchise package.

Great. Do you accept checks?

Comanche Voter said...

Bears walk in the woods too. And in Los Angeles's Griffith Park, you can take a walk in the woods--but there's a mountain lion who lives in the park as well. And he has developed a taste for koalas in the Los Angeles Zoo. So maybe, just maybe, his diet may improve with a Shin Yoku (sp.?) walker as well.

As for the ability to walk slowly? Whenever I get lazy on my daily walk, I can walk slowly without any instruction at all.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...The bully eventually, at great effort, dive bombs and drives the others away from his feeder. They just shrug, and probably laugh in hummingbird talk, while the others cooperate and go feed at the one he isn't defending.

I used to watch the hummingbird dogfights from my back porch of my parents' house. Very entertaining, and their chrip-type noises were great! I gradually moved a chair closer and closer and was eventually able to sit directly under the feeder as they whizzed by. I saw a handful of collisions in mid air and once witnessed one hummingbird pin another to the ground.

Sadly I haven't seen any around my house in the city, but I'm sure they're around somewhere. A dentist's office I went to had two in a cage, but that seemed cruel.

coupe said...

Insurance is like Usury, in that you'll never get your money back, and the tribe that controls this money will always live in a big house and eat ice cream without regard to cost.

Smilin' Jack said...

Try walking very slowly downtown today and if anyone asks you what you're doing say that it's osoi hokō.

Real Japanese speakers -- correct my translation if it's bad.


You're not even close--it's pronounced "velly srow warking."

n.n said...

While the semantics are savory, reconciling with Nature is therapeutic.

Howard said...

I did this with my 5-yo grandson at Henry Cowells Redwoods last week. Knowing he had recently watched the Star Wars with the Ewoks, I told him they lived in our local old-growth grove. It's only about a mile or so loop and we took 2-hours slowly and quietly stalking all of the Ewok dens. He picked up a spear-shaped stick when he would go exploring into the dark hollows at the base of the big trees. The charred underside of these ancient giants was sign of their bonfires. As it was getting late, I told him we had to leave because the Ewoks were nocturnal and they throw sticks down at the people who stay after sunset. If they don't leave after that, the Ewoks come down and capture the people to cook them on their bonfires.

Titus said...

OMG-love it! I want to go on this tour...and I will find one.

You guys are so not open to new stuff-why not? Try it-you might like it.

I am always working on expanding expanding my chaka khans.

Gabriel said...

@cubanbob:One sensible solution towards bending the cost curve is allowing interstate health insurance sales and for one clever state to allow policies without all of the alternative medicine nonsense insurance requirements.

Alternative medicine, not being effective, is almost always much cheaper: think homeopathy. It's the RATIO of cost to benefit that is high; the cost is actually quite small compared to real medicine. So no, states that don't allow alternative medicine will not be seeing savings.

Gabriel said...

@Howard:I did this with my 5-yo grandson at Henry Cowells Redwoods last week. Knowing he had recently watched the Star Wars with the Ewoks, I told him they lived in our local old-growth grove.

I tell my son to look for gnome houses and troll-caves.

Howard said...

Gabriel: That's a good one.. I'll use that next time we are in a hardwood forest. I wish I had discovered this technique sooner. I always took my kids on 7-mile forced marches and told them if they lagged behind, the banshee would swoop down out of the trees and eat them. Since crows sound like banshees, there were no shortages of sound effects to make the point.

Every time we cross a creek on a bridge, the grandson has to go under and scare the trolls away. Since we have coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions in the woods around our house, we are always on the lookout for wild animals in walks around the neighborhood. At first he was scared, but I told him that we were wild animals too and we were so wild all the other animals were afraid of us, so he lost his fear. Another thing he gets a big kick out of is exploring drain pipes, so a headlamp, flashlight and spear are always carried.

Yeah, so all this slow hiking and imagineering is great, but having some ex-barista sociology major instant karma spirit guide completely defeats the purpose.

kjbe said...

Sounds like a literal guided meditation - would be helpful as an addiction resource.

Levi Starks said...

Definitely not something to be attempted by untrained amateurs. And sertainly only after you've been cleared by your DR for leisurely forest strolls.
On second thought it should probably be by prescription only. The risk of uncontrolled uphoria, and general sense of wellbeing is just to great.

buwaya said...

"Knowing he had recently watched the Star Wars with the Ewoks, I told him they lived in our local old-growth grove."

I used to tell the kids, when on a golf course, to look out for the teletubbies.
One day these lies may all come out in therapy.

Freeman Hunt said...

I relax by "text bathing." Like reading this blog. (And reloading it repeatedly since I read the news that Trump released a list of judges.)

madAsHell said...

I'm looking at those moonbeam morons in the video, and I'm thinking the trail head parking lot is filled with Subarus with "Feel the Bern" bumper stickers.
Pass the patchouli oil, and don't Bogart that reefer.

Howard said...

madAsHell: At least they are not moving to Guyana for a Kool Aide party. In that respect, the Bay Area loons have made progress.

Howard said...

buwaya puti: In my experience, it's those sorts of lies that keeps kids out of therapy when they are adults. You have to punk them all the time so they don't fall for all the con jobs people encounter every day, like this magic Shindig Yoko Ono fetishization of a nature walk.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"It was the virtue-signaling hats..."

First thing that struck me. Bored and affluent aging Boomers looking for something, anything, to give them spiritual bragging rights with their equally twee and trivial peers.

Mike Smith said...

Looks like an excellent money making opportunity. considering my immense woods-time exoeriance, I should easily qualify as a Master Bather!

Szoszolo said...

"If it's a bath, why aren't they naked?"

Because they're not in Germany. Hmm ... maybe we can combine Freikörperkultur with Shinrin-yoku and start an Axis Powers fitness-cum-meditation craze.

khesanh0802 said...

@Ann This doesn't get a BS tag? My God, what could be more deserving? Well I guess anything Hillary has to say would be.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

The point of a hike is not to reach a destination. Hikes often end next to parking lots where they began.

BN said...

"The other thought I had watching the video is why can't they just let us take LSD."

That was my first thought also.

It's almost always my first thought though, so that doesn't mean much.

But have you ever really actually taken LSD perfesser?

Hillary has.

tim in vermont said...

"Marijuana, marijuana,
LSD, LSD
Scientist make it
College kids take it
Why can't we?
Why can't we?"

A rhyme I remember from the playground of the elementary school I went to. That would have been in the '60s. I really doubt a little kid made that up, but who knows.

Cookie Lipschitz said...

Here's another twist on this that people might not have thought about - this is just another way to "use" forest without giving anything back, or doing much if anything to conserve the research. Thus it become another "extractive" activity.