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Where to Go Forest Bathing in California
Health & Fitness

Where to Go Forest Bathing in California

Experience the healing benefits of forest bathing in California. Check out these awe-inducing spots in NorCal and SoCal.

Natasha Kouyoumjian

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5 min read

October 28, 2022

You might have heard of forest bathing and are now wondering what exactly it is. Forest bathing has many benefits and could even be exactly what you’re in need of, so let’s dive into forest bathing 101 and the history behind this unique practice.

What Is Forest Bathing?

After creating many of the world-renowned tech brands, the Japanese formed the Karoshi. Loosely translated, Karoshi means “death from overworking.” Living in this era, we are hooked by technology. We’re on our phones all day busy with calls, texts, emails, games, and social media, we use computers while at work, and watch TV at home. Naturally, this overwhelms our brains, bodies, and emotional well-being. This is where forest bathing comes in, to set things into perspective.

Forest bathing, or Shinrin-Yoku in Japanese, started in Japan and dates back to the 1980s. So while this practice came about before the new-age of technology, the Japanese realized the essential need to detach from reality by immersing themselves in nature. 

Shinto and Buddhism refer to forests as “the realms of the divine”. This activity is meant to eliminate negative thoughts through natural resources. And in case you’re wondering, you can absolutely do that in the California forests. Though simple and easy, the favors of this medicinal journey are many. Here are a few of its health benefits:

  • Lowers stress hormones and brings down stressful mindsets
  • Shrinks blood sugar levels
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts the immune system and increases the natural curing cells
  • Lifts depression
  • Increases anti-cancer proteins
  • Improves concentration and boosts your memory

 

So, how exactly does forest bathing work?

Challenge yourself to stay grounded through the power of jade forests.

Essentials of Taking a Forest Bath

While it has so many health benefits, the activity is rather simple. Since Shinrin-Yoku is simply the temporary drop of stressors, putting your phone and laptop away is the first step to forest bathing. Draw up the courage to disconnect and surrender to this relaxing process.

Stay Present in the Moment

We can all have time away from our tech devices, but are we actually away from them? Walking mindfully through the forest will help you appreciate the time you’ve dedicated to your well-being. This means not letting your mind wander with to-do lists, work tasks, or errands. Choose that moment to turn off that side of your brain and dedicate to focusing only on your health.

Acknowledge and Listen to the Sounds

While bathing in the forest, don’t forget to lavish your ears with the sounds of nature. The chirping of birds, the silent squeaks of the woodland creatures, the slow current of the bodies of water, and the whistling of the wind while it brushes the leaves - become hyper aware of your senses and you might be surprised at how much more sound you’re able to notice.

Break the Leaf

If it's still not obvious yet, the process works on heightening the senses. Breathe in deeply to take in the scents of the forest. Take in the dampness of the soil and the sticky milk dripping from the bark of an oak tree. Consider breaking an eucalyptus leaf in half for a more intense effect of forest sounds and smells.

Bathe in the beauty of the wilderness in Mount Shasta Trinity Forest.

Where to Go Forest Bathing in California

If this practice sounds enticing to you and, like us, you want to try Shinrin-Yoku methods to detach, you’re in luck because California is full of lush forests. From Mount Shasta Trinity to the rarest La Cholla Cactus hiking trail, Cali offers the ultimate destinations to unwind and release. But for the most fruitful experience, here are some of the places we recommend to go forest bathing in Cali.

The California Greenwoods

Greenwoods decorate this land, making it harder to pick only one forest in California, but the gorgeous tall trees of the California Greenwoods make the perfect environment to put down your phone and take in nature. It's also hard to talk about forests without mentioning the Trails in Los Padres Forest. Our personal favorite is the Jesusita trail. As you pass by the oak trees, enjoy a line of avocados elegantly hanging in the avocado orchards. 

California State Parks

Ranking on the list of California state parks, this trail fully supports the forest bathing lifestyle. If you’ve guessed it right, we are talking about Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Walking alongside the majestic trees, the forest simply shakes you back into perspective. 

How lucky to be a California resident, because the golden state is chock-full of gorgeous state and national parks lush with acres of forests to lose yourself in (but only spiritually, make sure to always mark your trail and use a map)! Ranging from the perfect Yosemite National Park to Malibu Creek State Park, there are plenty of options for forest bathing in California state parks.

Bring the outdoors inside by creating a more calming and soothing environment in your home to nurture a lifestyle in which you can detach from tech.

No Parks Nearby?

If you want to enjoy the perks of forest bathing, but don’t exactly have the time to make a trip out of it, enjoy the indoors for itself! Yes, you read that correctly - forest bathing is still an option for those who either lack the luxury of a nearby forest or prefer sailing the “home-remedy” boat. Here’s how to take a forest bath without the forest itself!

There are a million methods to do Shinrin-Yoku without actually bathing in the woods. One of these methods is bringing the park to you by simply adding some greens to your home area or your office. You can buy a well-nourished plant, or start from the seed. Either way, don’t be afraid to introduce these goodies to your indoor life. Easy access is everything. For getting the desired effect, decorate your desk with your favorite flowers to activate your sense of smell. Most plants emit alluring fragrances which have therapeutic effects on the brain and body cells. If you’re living in Cali, you most probably have these flowers dried out in your kitchen cabinet.

Lavender

Of course! There’s no questioning why influencers, social media, or millions of marketing platforms have been spoon-feeding us about the magical effects of this plant. The Lilac-blue hue and the soothing aroma are only the beginning of the beneficial effects of this natural medicine. While yogis use it to create a calming effect and induce blood circulation, therapists appeal to lavender for treating anxiety and depression.

Jasmine

Let’s be honest, what’s been sitting in our cabinets for ages?  Might be time to try out that refreshing summer tea. The plant itself has the energy to tone down anxiety levels and secure a cozy night’s sleep. 

Gerbera

Not exactly in your kitchen closet, but this one’s very common too! If you’re looking to refresh the office atmosphere either literally or physically, Gerbera is the answer. Rainbow colors rule this floral family. Brighten up your space with flamboyant colors and purify the air from benzene that’s released from handling ink. 

Nothing can feel more personal than the extract of a preferred bloom.

What to Do in Case of Plant Allergies

If you have pollen allergies leaving you miserable outdoors, we got you covered! The only company you’ll be adding to your misery is essential oils. With the right oil extracts, that California forest smell will fill up your space in no time. Pour your favorite essential oil into the humidifier. Stimulate your senses, and enjoy a successful forest bathing session from the perks of your nest.

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