Forest Bathing and why its so good for you!

 17 Aug 2020

Shinrin-yoku, which literally means forest bathing, originated in Japan in the early 1980s and may be regarded as a form of nature therapy.

When is the last time you got out for a good walk in nature ?!

To be fair, COVID19 has pushed a lot of us to embrace the nature around us on our doorstep with surprising benefits!

'Nature Therapy' and 'Forest Bathing' have become more popular in the Western World and indeed in recent times as a ‘social prescription’ for relieving physical and mental symptoms.

But lets face it , I think deep down we understand and recognise this , but somewhere with the fast pace of life and attraction to shopping malls , spending more time indoors , in traffic , we may have forgotton the benefits of nature all around us!

Social Prescribing promotes wellbeing and social activities to aid with isolation, loneliness and to assist with positive mental health practices adapting them into your daily life.  More and more GP's and medical practitioners are adapting this concept to focus on activities and social engaging as opposed to reliance on medical prescriptions. More and more groups and bodies are forming around Ireland as well as lots of other countries particularly in the Western world in response to the increase in chronic illness and mental health challenges of loneliness, anxiety, stress , fear , worry, grief and isolation. 


What are the benefits of 'forest bathing' or really just being outdoors in nature? 

  • Relieves tension, stress, negative energy
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases recovery from illness
  • Promotes sounder sleep
  • Lowers the stress hormone cortisol
  • Boosts creativity and aids problem solving
  • Promotes a feeling of wellbeing
  • Pumps the heart circulating oxygenated blood around the body
  • Phytoncides are chemicals produced by trees that haven been proven scientifically to boost the immune system!



Forest bathing is all about engaging the five senses.

  • Listening to the sounds of the birds, river flowing trees moving in the wind, animal sounds.
  • Touching the trees, leaves, feeling the grasses as you walk through dense paths
  • Seeing the colours, the various shades of green, the majestic nature of the trees and even focusing in on the wild mushrooms and tiny plants and flowers as they wind into the forest trail
  • Smelling the forest, trees, freshness
  • Breathing in the clean pure air!
  • If you are an experienced forager or have a good guide you may be able to taste some of the wild berries at certain times of the year!


Really for me,  it is about releasing any tensions, negative energy build up , finding a spot to sit and savour the sounds and the stillness. While mostly people join me on my walks I often enjoy hiking in silence and then coming together at the end to talk about the experience.


My top walks in Offaly. These spots are perfect for walking, hiking, family, and of course bring a picnic to enjoy along the way!  (Check out each spot individually as some restrictions may be in place due to COVID19)


  • Kilmurray Old Bog Trail
  • Grand Canal Walks
  • Kinnity Castle Forest Trail
  • Garryhinch Woods
  • Emo Court
  • Glenbarrow / Slieve Bloom Mountains
  • Birr Castle and Grounds
  • Charleville Castle and Grounds
  • Clonmacnoise
  • Lough Boora Parklands