THE AMATEUR WORD NERD: Stressed? Take a forest bath

By Barbara McAllister

Word of the Day: Forest bathing

Forest bathing is a concept becoming popular in America. It involves contemplative walks through the woods to control stress by reconnecting the individual with nature. The Germans have a similar concept, waldeinsamkeit, referring to the specific positive feeling of being alone in the restorative atmosphere of a beautiful wooded setting. Was the film “Deliverance” not released overseas?
The Japanese government legitimized forest bathing, known in Japan as shinrin-yoku_,_ in the 1980s, where it became a cornerstone of healing and preventive health care. Japanese citizens feeling stressed might be prescribed a walk in the woods. They don’t have America’s easy relationship with antidepressant medications. “Meditation” and “medication” are separated not just by a single letter but by a cultural philosophy. You would think Japan, a nation that made a billion dollar industry out of Hello Kitty, could cash in on the multi-billion dollar stress relief industry, but I guess it takes good old American know-how to show the world how to do profitable natural meditation Meditation Theme parks is an idea that just sells itself. Are you listening, Disney?