Forest bathing

The Japanese have an expression: shinrin-yoku 森林浴. It means “forest bathing” and refers to a therapeutic, mindful and guided walk through the forest. You can even get a prescription for it.

Recently I visited one of Ontario's few old-growth forests where some of the trees are 250 to 300 years old.  I was instantly reminded of this beautiful metaphor. The mature maple-beech forest, intermixed by birch and hemlock, is typical of the ecoregion's mixed woods. These species have co-evolved together, a glimpse into what pre-settlement woodlands across the area might've once looked like. It was also a gentle reminder of the therapeutic benefits we reap, both physically and mentally, simply by dipping our feet in a woodland bath.

Forest canopy

Forest canopy

Co-evolved woodland species of Acer (maple), Fagus (beech) and Betula (birch)

Co-evolved woodland species of Acer (maple), Fagus (beech) and Betula (birch)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow birch)

Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow birch)

A green sock in the snow

A green sock in the snow