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Simply being in the forest. Letting the fresh air, trees, and plants inhabit us. Shinrin yoku is a Japanese term that means “to soak up the atmosphere of the forest” or “forest bath.”

A cornerstone of preventive healthcare and wellness, this simple practice was developed in Japan during the 1980s. It involves immersing yourself in the forest to benefit from the relaxing effect of phytoncides, molecules released by trees and plants. Since then, many researchers, primarily based in Japan and South Korea, have been able to deve- lop an extensive body of scientific research demonstrating the benefits of walks in the forest on the central nervous system. These include reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosting the immune system.

Recognized by medical workers in Japan, a forest bath is prescribed to treat those suffering from stress, anxiety, and cardiovascular diseases, or to offer relief to women going through menopause. The benefits of breathing, walking, and wandering in the forest are numerous: strengthening the immune system; lowering blood pressure; reducing depression, stress, anger, and anxiety; improving the mood and sleep; and increasing concentration and energy levels. As John Muir put it so well in his book Préserver les solitudes: “The taste of our time to get wild in Nature is delicious to observe. Thousands of exhausted, afflicted, overcivilized people are beginning to understand that going into the mountains means coming back home; that the wild state is a necessity; that mountain parks and reserves are not only sources of lumber and rivers for irrigation, but also sources of life.” Returning to nature means returning to the self.


Taking the time to relax in nature means letting the richness of the landscape inhabit us and contribute to the calm of the body, mind, and soul. Established in the heart of nature, our spas on Nuns’ Island, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Sherbrooke, and Old Quebec therefore allow you to reconnect with life, essence, the innate force of wellness.