Forest Bathing the Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku. Since 1982 it has been recognized by the
Forest Agency of Japan as a form of relaxation and stress management.Â It boosts your immune system and even, they
say, can help fight cancer.
Studies have shown that when youâ€™re deep in the forest you
automatically breathe in antimicrobial volatile organic compounds that work to
keep you healthy.Â More than that, there
is an electro-organic exchange between us and the trees and undergrowth that
you canâ€™t help but feel.Â Just touching
the bark of a tree creates subtle changes in your body chemistryâ€”probably why
people began hugging trees in the first place.
For the ultimate in forest experiences, you might want to
take a trip to the Catalan countryside in the Pyrenees.Â Emmanuel GrymonprÃ© and his wife, Karin, have
built cabins that â€œhangâ€ from the trees, almost like birdcages.Â Rather than build platforms for his cabins,
GrymonprÃ© builds the cabins around the base of the tree.Â Once the cabin is complete, he raises it
ten-to-twenty feet off the ground.Â He
drives a thick, stainless steel rod through the center of the tree.Â His cabins are then hung from the rod by
steel cables.Â GrymonprÃ© says that the
stainless rods are easier on the tree than other methods used to support tree
houses.Â He likens it to the stainless
steel rods that are used to repair broken bones in humans.
Access to the tree houses is by a suspension bridge that
takes you up to a ladder.Â Once inside,
there are no amenitiesâ€”no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no
refrigeration.Â Â Candles provide the
light; the toilet is a bucket with sawdust in it, and a wash basin and pitcher
of water are there for washing up.Â
There is no cell service, so there are no phones and no internet.Â You are completely cut off from
GrymonprÃ© intentionally uses only rough, unprocessed wood
for all door handles and railings.Â He
knows the therapeutic value of â€œtouching woodâ€.Â This is as back to nature as you can get and still have a bed to
Located between the Montseny mountain range and the Pyrenees foothills.Â GrymonprÃ©â€™s â€œCabanes als Arbresâ€
(or â€œCabins In The Treesâ€) is not advertised at all, yet has a waiting list of
a full year for people wishing to stay in them.Â For more information on them, go here:Â http://www.cabanesalsarbres.com/enÂ
You might have to wait a year to stay in one of Grymonprs
tree houses.Â In the meantime, you can
always just take a walk in the woods.
Itll do you good.