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Best Essential Oils for Forest Bathing

Best Essential Oils for Forest Bathing

In this article, we’re going to touch on forest bathing and uncover what the best essential oils for forest bathing are — and no, it doesn’t involve roaming around forests looking for magical pools to bathe in:)

If you’d love to learn more about:

  • What forest bathing is
  • How aromatherapy can be useful here
  • What phytoncides are
  • How you can forest bathe without nearby forests

You came to the right article.

Let’s DIVE into it, shall we?!

Table of contents — Navigate to the section that interests you the most.

What is Forest Bathing?

Forest bathing (or Shinrin-yoku) is a Japanese form of relaxation that means ‘walking and/or staying in forests to promote mental and physical health.’

In short, it involves spending time in forests to breathe in nature’s goodness and to become mindful.

How Do You ‘Forest Bathe’?

Forest bathing is different from regular walks or hikes in or around the forest.

You don’t even need to walk — you can just sit.

When you forest bathe, you become involved with the trees and their surrounding nature.

You connect with your senses; with your eyes, mouth, nose and ears you see, taste, touch and smell nature.

And this has benefits for your mind and body.

“How,” you ask?

Let’s have a look.

A Guide to Forest Bathing

  1. Travel to a forest, park or any woody area.
  2. Turn off your electronic devices.
  3. Take in your surroundings: listen to the wind and creaking of the trees, smell the fresh piney scents, perceive the bright colours of the leaves and bushes, and feel the roughness of the bark and caress of the flowing air on your cheek.
  4. Slow down. Become conscious of your steps on the leaves and twigs.
  5. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. What sensations are you experiencing? How does the forest make you feel?
  6. Pay attention to your breathing rhythm: take slow, deep breaths from your lower belly.
  7. Stop and sit for a while and notice the details in nature.

Forest Bathing Benefits

I’m going to distil this entire chapter into a single sentence:

Forest bathing reduces the (negative) effects of stress hormones on the body.

More precisely, it increases the activity of the parasympathetic system, which helps your body to recover.

Your heart rate becomes slower and your blood pressure is lowered.

As a result, you feel calmer, happier and more relaxed.

Oils in the forest

For instance, an article found that cortisol levels decreased by 15,8% after forest bathing.

Another article showed that people felt significantly less stressed after spending a few hours in the forest.

Pretty awesome, right?

But wait, that’s not all!

Phytoncides and The Immune System

I keep struggling to write PHYTONCIDES.

Why did they make this word so difficult?

Luckily, its workings on the body are not that complex.

Phytoncides are aromatic, volatile organic compounds that originate from plants. It’s a term used to cover a range of substances, including terpenes, cineole and limonene.

When you’re happily wandering around in the woods, you breathe in these phytoncides.
They are inherently antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal because they protect plants from insects, fungi and bacteria.

Aside from benefiting from these traits, research also shows that they contribute to reducing stress and increasing the activity of natural killer cells.

Now you might wonder, how could cells that have been titled ‘natural killer cells’ be beneficial to my health?

Don’t worry, they are the GOOD GUYS!

oils on grass

Killer cells are a form of immune cells, also known as white blood cells. They attack cells when they’re infected with a virus. This way, they strengthen our immune system.

One research article found that forest bathing for one day increased the natural killer cell activity by 40%! The effect lasted for 7 days.


“What If I Don’t Live Close To a Forest?”

You don’t actually need to be close to a forest to forest bathe!

What’s important here is that you are spending time being mindful;
Meditative if you will.

Plus, you can use aromatherapy to increase the effectiveness of your session.

It doesn’t matter whether you breathe phytoncides in or diffuse essential oils: They still provide their mental and physical benefits.

In the next chapter, I’ll explain the connection.

Essential oils and Forest Bathing

Now, you don’t (always) have to be in a forest to reap its benefits.

Phytoncides and all the chemical and fragrant compounds it includes are also captured in essential oils.

Keep in mind, the better the quality of the EO, the better its aromatherapeutic benefits are.

At Aromen, we take great care to maintain each EO’s amazing properties.

You can create your own ‘forest therapy’ with your favourite essential oils.

For example, use the coniferous Swiss pine essential oil in your room to promote free breathing and to feel refreshed.

Or diffuse the goodness of cedar Atlas to instil a sense of tranquillity and happy thoughts.

Other essential oils that are excellent to use for a forest bathe sesh:

You can also diffuse these essential oils to battle coughs, colds, the flu and other respiratory illnesses.

Best Essential Oils for Forest Bathing

Essential Oil Health Benefits
Swiss Stone Pine Alleviates nerve and muscle pain, against rosacea and acne, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and supports the immune system.
Sandalwood Grounding, antidepressant, against insomnia, improves the blood circulation and relaxing.
Scots Pine Antiseptic, antifungal, soothes cramps, reduces stress and strengthens the immune system.
Cedar Atlas Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, heals wounds, soothes red and irritated skin and reduces allergy-related symptoms.
Eucalyptus Globulus Painkilling, soothes cramps, reduces phlegm, antiseptic, anti-viral, calms inflamed skin and antibacterial.

Oils in the forest

Invite the Forest into your Home

I hope you enjoyed this ‘fresh” article about forest bathing and aromatherapy.

I showed you which essential oils are awesome to use in forest bathing, what it means to breathe in the fresh forest air for your immune system and what effect forest bathing has on your mental and physical health.

So go ahead and invite the scent of forests into your home!

1. Morita, E., Fukuda, S., Nagano, J., Hamajima, N., Yamamoto, H., Iwai, Y., … & Shirakawa, T. J. P. H. (2007). Psychological effects of forest environments on healthy adults: Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing, walking) as a possible method of stress reduction. Public health, 121(1), 54-63.

2. Park, B. J., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T., Kagawa, T., & Miyazaki, Y. (2010). The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 15(1), 18-26.

3. Tsunetsugu, Y., Park, B. J., & Miyazaki, Y. (2010). Trends in research related to “Shinrin-yoku”(taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 15(1), 27-37.

4. Li, Q. (2010). Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 15(1), 9-17.