Introducing “Forest Bathing” Essential Oils
By Caryn Gehlmann
Every autumn I feel the urge to spend some time in the forest. The exquisite reddish hues of Southern Oregon’s deciduous trees annually remind me of the wonderfully preserved forests we have here in Oregon. I’ve always felt that humans have a special connection to forests, so when I heard about forest bathing, it instantly intrigued me. Of course, I also immediately wondered about the connection of forest bathing with essential oils.
What is forest bathing?
When we’re indoors we primarily use two of our senses—eyesight and hearing. However, going outside opens us up to our other senses, especially our sense of smell.
As an aromatherapist, this is one of the many things that fascinated me about Dr. Qing Li’s book, “Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing.” Dr. Li is one of the world’s foremost experts in forest medicine, and in this book he explores the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Forest bathing is spending “mindful, intentional time around trees,” which can improve health and happiness.
The book suggests that many people in developed countries suffer from what he calls “nature deficiency disorder.” The US Environmental Protection Agency statistics suggest that Americans spend about 93% of their time indoors. Children in particular aren’t spending as much time outdoors as they did in years past. Li thinks that we’ve been cut off from the rhythms of nature, but if we begin to rekindle our attachment, our bodies will begin to heal—emotionally, and by extension, physically.
What do forests smell like?
If you’re like me and you’ve spent time in the forest, a very distinct fragrance comes to mind. Li thinks this effect is due to the terpenes in phytoncides. These phytoncides are natural oils within plants that serve as part of their defense system. Trees release phytoncides to protect themselves from insects, fungi, and bacteria.
Li conducted some experiments with phytoncides and according to his data participants had significantly lowered levels of stress hormones, decreased tension, anxiety, and anger, and increased hours of sleep, after being exposed to phytoncides. So, it appears that a large part of the benefits of time spent forest bathing is due to the smells, a kind of natural aromatherapy.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way of capturing the fragrance of forest bathing into an essential oil blend you can use at home?
I’m pleased to announce a new e3 Forest Blend essential oil that’s designed to promote the same feelings of calm and relaxation you experience while walking through a natural forest. Now, I don’t think this blend replaces time well-spent outdoors! But there are days that you’re stuck inside — working on a deadline at your office or staying home because of inclement weather. Those days you can give yourself a bit of a boost by diffusing e3’s Forest Blend, which is a blend of cypress, pine, douglas fir, cedarwood atlas, and black spruce. This blend is a great way to introduce forest bathing essential oils into your wellness routine. Discover many additional application methods you can enjoy with our Forest Blend.
Do you plan on adding forest bathing to your health routine? We’d love to hear what you think of the essential oil combination we’ve created for our new Forest Blend, please contact us or share your feedback on our Facebook page.