Andrew Weil is wondering if the forest therapy that originated in Japan is available in the U.S. Or is it something we’re just supposed to do on our own to reduce stress?
Demand from patients seeking help for their mental illnesses has led to underground use in a way that parallels black markets in the AIDS pandemic. This underground use has been most perilous for people of color, who face greater stigma and legal risks due to the War on Drugs.
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku—literally translated as “forest bathing”—is based on a simple premise: immerse yourself in the forest, absorb its sights, sounds, and smells, and you will reap numerous psychological and physiological benefits.
I catch some things here and there: a scurrying chipmunk crosses the path, a patch of sunlight glimmers ahead of me. But mostly, I’m in my head and in my feet as I cross a metaphorical finish line, completing my mileage for the day.