Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, is a custom that dates back to ancient Japan. It involves immersing yourself in nature and enjoying the atmosphere of the forest. But maybe you're wearing the wrong clothes that are preventing you from getting the most out of your sessions. In this article, we'll review what's generally recommended, and I'll share what I've learned from countless sessions in the forest.
What forest bathing actually is, we discuss here in detail:
Shinrin Yoku: What is forest bathing and the benefits of trees?
The most important thing when choosing clothes for forest bathing is comfort. You should feel comfortable so that you can fully relax and be aware of your surroundings. Clothing that is too tight or constricting will only make you more aware of your body and less able to relax. Loose, comfortable clothing that allows your skin to breathe is ideal.
- Wear comfortable clothes: As mentioned earlier, it is important that you are comfortable so that you can relax. This means that you should not wear constricting clothes that make you feel your body even more.
- Wear layers: The temperature in the forest can vary depending on the time of day and season. Wearing layers will help you adapt to the changing conditions. Make sure your first layer is made of a breathable material like cotton.
- Wear closed-toe shoes: this is for your own safety, as there are often uneven surfaces and you don't want to risk injury. Shoes with good tread will also help you keep your balance.
- Wear jeans: Jeans are often too tight and too stiff. They can hinder circulation (especially in the back of the knees) and allow little freedom of movement overall.
- Wear a white shirt: You will probably get dirt and tree bark on your clothes. A light colored shirt will show this more easily than a dark colored shirt.
- Wear open-toed shoes: since you'll be walking in the woods, make sure your feet are protected from sticks, rocks and other debris.
- Open-toed shoes offer no protection and can be a safety hazard.
If you wear the wrong clothes, your forest bathing experience may be less enjoyable. Make sure you dress comfortably and appropriately to get the most out of your time in nature.
Note the selected area and activity levels
Another point to consider when choosing your outfit is the activities you plan to do during your forest swim. If you plan to hike or walk through the forest, you should wear shoes that are suitable for hiking or walking.
Sneakers or walking shoes are both good choices. However, if you don't plan on doing a lot of walking and prefer to spend your time sitting or lying on the grass, then walking shoes are not necessary. You can even go barefoot if you want! Just make sure the place where you sit or lie down is free of debris that could hurt your feet.
Should I go barefoot?
If you've been wondering if it's okay to go forest bathing barefoot, the answer is yes! Walking around without shoes not only feels good, but also has many advantages.
- Reduces stress
- increases the energy level
- stimulates blood circulation
- relieves tension headaches
- improves joint mobility
So go ahead and enjoy the forest, but be careful and start right:
Don't go out of the house without shoes (unless you are used to it). The reason is that people often overestimate their tolerance for barefoot walking.
Our feet are quite sensitive because we cannot walk outside without shoes.
If it's your first time barefoot in the woods, take your shoes with you and start with passages with soft ground and few sharp or pointed objects (like rocks and sticks).
In this way, you avoid a bad experience that has led many people to refrain from further barefoot attempts altogether. And that's a shame, because you're missing out on great benefits and a lot of fun.
If you notice that you feel uncomfortable walking barefoot, you can also stop and just stand still or you can put your shoes back on and try again later or next time. By the way, I recommend taking a small cloth with you to clean your feet before putting your shoes on.
The idea is to get used to running barefoot and gradually increase the duration, not forcing it and ruining it entirely.
Consider the season and the weather
Last but not least, you should dress according to the weather. If it's cold outside, you should dress warmly so you don't get chilled. However, if it's hot, you should wear light clothing that won't overheat you. Natural fabrics like cotton are always a good choice, no matter what the weather is like.
You will find here a detailed Articles about forest bathing during all seasons of the year. We discuss the advantages and characteristics of spring, summer, autumn and winter.
No matter the season or weather, forest bathing is a great way to relieve stress and improve your mood. Just remember to wear comfortable clothes that don't restrict your movement and breathability while enjoying nature!