What exactly is forest bathing? The term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire people to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests. The Japanese quickly embraced this form of ecotherapy. In the 1990s, researchers began studying the benefits of forest bathing to both physical and emotional health. It has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, enhance the immune system, and speed up recovery from illness, as well as reduce stress hormone production, improve feelings of happiness, and free up creativity.