The physical and mental benefits of “forest bathing” are well known. This ancient Japanese therapy, known as shinrin-yoku, is the practice of retreating to the woods or any greenspace and taking a leisurely stroll or vigorous hike while enjoying the natural scenery and inhaling the scents of the surrounding trees and plants. It is especially relaxing on a quiet, early morning or after a rainfall.
Studies have shown that forest bathing decreases stress and improves attention, memory, and focus. It also improves the body’s immune function and anti-cancer protein production.
Every bit as healthful as the woodland air and views are the sounds of the forest. Birdsongs, rippling streams, and breezes rustling through pine trees and grasses are naturally soothing to us, producing positive emotional feelings.
But if you can’t easily steal away to the woods whenever you like, you can simply head over to the Sounds of the Forest website and listen to audio snapshots recorded by 550 people from forests in 50 countries around the world.
The site’s clickable map lets you easily select from the crowd-sourced sound files of hooting owls, chattering monkeys, rushing winds, falling rain, and even deep silences of natural forests from six continents, so far.
There are even instructions for recording and uploading sound files from your own favorite woodlands to add to the world map.
The Sounds of the Forest site was created by the annual Timber Festival, a three-day festival held at the heart of England’s National Forest. The festival celebrates our connection to trees and woodlands through music, art and ideas.