Available January 2019
Bloodroot Mountain, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering art and nature in a modern Appalachia, now offers a handmade collection of natural soaps, lotions, and haircare products inspired by our base camp, a barn studio on 21 forested acres nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Our artisan bath and skincare products incorporate organic elements from our native Appalachian landscape, infused with goat milk, essential oils, and clays formulated to nourish the body and awaken the senses.
*Photo by Shawn Poynter
What is forest bathing?
“We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We have known it for centuries. The sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air — these things give us a sense of comfort. They ease our stress and worry, help us to relax and to think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.
But what exactly is this feeling that is so hard to put into words? I am a scientist, not a poet. And I have been investigating the science behind that feeling for many years.
In Japan, we practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.
This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.
The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy of phytoncides.
Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Drink in the flavor of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm. This is your sixth sense, a state of mind. Now you have connected with nature. You have crossed the bridge to happiness.”
From FOREST BATHING: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, by Dr. Qing Li, published on April 17, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Qing Li, 2018.
To learn more about the Japanese art and science of shinrin-yoku, please click here.