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Lapuan Kankurit MAIJA
Lapuan Kankurit NYYTTI

When being is enough

As Finland is the most heavily forested country in Europe, it’s no wonder that our myths and stories are saturated with forest spirits, elves and sacred animals. Our dense forests have given us food, remedies and a living for centuries–nature truly is the quintessence of Finland.

Thanks to our strong connection with nature, we Finns have always acknowledged the forest as a powerful entity. Now there is also strong scientific proof that spending time in a forest is good for your body and soul. Time spent in the forest reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates your senses

Many of us are familiar with the most common outdoor activities, such as picking berries and mushrooms, camping or hiking, but there are also other ways of enjoying nature.

Forest bathing, metsäkylpy in Finnish or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, means immersing yourself in a forest. It’s a form of natural therapy where you experience your surroundings with all your senses: by touching, observing and breathing consciously. We Finns have always enjoyed the peace and quiet of the forest, but the actual method of forest bathing was first developed in Japan. With our mutual love of nature, it’s no wonder that forest bathing has become extremely popular in both countries.

Forest bathing practice consists of walking slowly through the woods, touching the trees and enjoying the sounds, colours and scents of nature. The most important thing is to slow down and create a connection with nature.

There are no rules for how long a forest bathing session should last. Even a couple of minutes can have a positive impact on our health. A twohour forest bath will definitely reduce stress levels and give you a sense of calm, peace and harmony.

Most people feel restored and refreshed after forest bathing. A slow, meditative walk gives us a chance to quiet our minds and truly concentrate. Feeling connected with nature is something that cannot be achieved via digital devices; it requires your actual presence in nature.

When slowing down and admiring the perfection in every natural detail, you have to agree that time spent amongst the trees is never wasted.

Text & Photo Katja Lösönen

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