Forest Bathing – the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life
Text by Samina Kirst
Editor: We first published it in April’s 2020 Issue of Parenting. This article has been condensed and edited for the BCT Blog.
Research suggests there are powerful benefits of spending time in nature.
In Japan, “Shinrin-Yoku” means “taking in the forest atmosphere”. Also known in the west as “Forest Bathing”, this practice became popular in the 1980s when experts attribute it to being the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life. The research suggests that it helps to boost our immune system and lowers blood pressure. And assists in reducing the stress hormone or cortisol in our bodies. With chronic stress playing a role in many of our complaints today (headaches, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, etc.), a forest walk seems like the perfect cure.
We are lucky that Basel and its surroundings are rich in green areas.
Indeed, there is an abundance of forests to bathe in.
If you and your family are not the ones that can stay still for too long – how about busying yourselves with collecting some of Spring’s treats?
This time of the year is perfect for foraging wild garlic or Bärlauch
They are abundant on woodland floors from March to May. Many locals stock up on this wonder herb to produce pesto and other goodies to share with family and friends. You may have already noticed that many of your usual food products such as pasta, butter and pesto are currently available in wild garlic flavour.
Wild garlic is an easy herb for even the timidest of first-time foragers to start the green journey.
Thanks mainly to its easily distinguishable smell.
Do some research to familiarise yourself with what the plant looks like and become aware of the characteristics of other similar-looking plants. For instance, Lily of the Valley seems similar and grows at this time of the year but is toxic. Additionally, you may want to consider setting a rule with your children that they don’t put anything in their mouth without verifying with you first.
It can be easy to get carried away in the excitement of what you find. Or when competing with who can pick the most. Be mindful to not over-pick so that the plan can continue to thrive and feed more families.
Once you and your family are informed, grab a bag or two and hey pesto, the wild garlic world is yours for the taking.
Switzerland Tourism has some information about “Forest Bathing” events here. And you can find some data regarding different forest trails around Basel here. In case you missed it, we recently featured a recipe for Bärlauch Pesto here.