Mrzeżyno is a perfect place to try out a new trend that has recently emerged among lovers of nature and holistic medicine.
Let us start from the beginning. What is the mysterious “forest bathing”? Literally, the phrase means forest bathing, but it is not about swimming in forest streams. The idea of forest bathing is to fully immerse yourself in nature: the sights, sounds, smells, touches and even tastes of the surrounding nature. Forest bathing is by no means such a new fashion. The trend originated as early as the 1980s in Japan and functions there as shinrin-yoku, which, by the way, means nothing more or less than forest bathing and involves absorbing the forest through all the senses. Japanese doctors prescribe shirin-yoku to their patients as a miraculous regenerative remedy that enhances our natural ability to adapt to change, gives us a positive attitude, promoting a better quality of life.
Surely all of us, without referring to scientific research, of which there is no shortage in this area either, intuitively know that spending time in nature is very beneficial to us. The sounds of the forest, the smell of the trees, the sunlight breaking through the branches, the fresh, clean air relieve our stress and worries, help us to relax and think more clearly, improve our mood, restore energy and vitality. And going back to the research, we will learn even more that with forest walks we can lower blood pressure, cortisol and heart rate and reduce the impact of anxiety and depression.
Unlike many fashionable ways of keeping the soul and body healthy, this method does not require expensive, specialised equipment, designer accessories or miracle supplementation. The success lies in the simplicity. And the core of the therapy is to walk slowly in the natural forest environment and consciously connect with what it offers. The word slow is not without meaning here. One must move slowly in order to see, feel and touch as much as possible. Unlike, for example, trekking, such an expedition does not have a specific goal or number of kilometres to traverse.
The most important element of this therapy is the appropriate location. The chosen location should be filled with interesting features that offer opportunities for observation while activating all of your senses.
The Baltic dune Scots pine woods – i.e. running along the sandy dunes, abounding in numerous rare and protected plant species – are a place created for forest bathing.
The abundance of pine woods growing here, sometimes with varied, unusual shapes, is not only a feast for the eyes, it is also an opportunity to directly engage the sense of touch. Finally, it is an extraordinary music for the ears, played by the branches rustling in the wind or creaking under its pressure. The sound of the sea on the forest paths enriches the experience. The scent of the moss and the numerous species of bushes and shrubs: heather, bilberries, and rockery allow you to soak up the forest literally to your heart’s content, and their varied forms, shades and colours will please not only the most demanding aesthetes. Finally, the translucency of the tree crowns, which allows the sun’s rays to freely penetrate the nooks and crannies of the Mrzeźno forest, makes for an extraordinary spectacle of light play…
Although this prose and sometimes even quasi-scientific text has unnoticeably risen to the heights of the author’s poetry, the skills of many an acknowledged master of poetry cannot reflect what awaits the daredevil who decides to dive into the benevolent abyss of the seaside forest of Mrzeźno.