Young woman with umbrella walking through bamboo forest, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Getty Images
A young woman walks through through a bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan. Getty Images

Forest bathing? Now it's serious business



This week, I woke during the night to a series of upsetting Facebook posts from friends in the West Coast state of Oregon. “Moron with fireworks starts Columbia River Gorge fire” read a headline on one local website. A 15-year-old boy had thrown firecrackers at Punch Bowl Falls on the Eagle Creek Trail, a popular gathering point in the foothills of Mount Hood. The surrounding temperate forest, tinder-dry after a hot summer, was set alight, and more than 12,000 hectares are still burning. The trail and various other spectacularly beautiful natural areas have been devastated. This only added to the dozens of wildfires already burning elsewhere in Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana.

I walked the trail at the end of May, and the memory of the wonderland of ancient, luminous, moss-clad green trees, pouring waterfalls and dramatic cliffs has sustained me through this Abu Dhabi summer. I have always loved forests, and draw both energy and calmness from them. Nowhere was this more so than in the Danum Valley, a rare tract of primeval rainforest in Borneo. The richness of the ecosystem filled the air and powered me on a run to the top of a mountain and back down again.

This year, the benefits of “forest bathing” are being recognised by the mainstream. What started as a Japanese phenomenon known as shinrin-yoku, or “taking in the forest atmosphere” has now spread (pardon the pun) like wildfire. Shinrin-yoku started in the 1980s, with researchers establishing a scientific body of evidence demonstrating the myriad health benefits of being in nature, and specifically trees, which are believed to give off organic antioxidant compounds that boost the immune system and fight cancer. Other benefits of being in forests for at least two hours include reduced blood pressure and stress hormones, better sleep and increased ability to focus.

Numerous travel companies are now offering forest-bathing holidays. Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian castle resort in upstate New York, offers guided forest-bathing experiences in its surrounding woodlands; in the United Kingdom, Forest Holidays has “forest therapy” in nine different locations, including Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. At Trout Point Lodge in Nova Scotia, Canada, programmes take guests into “Acadian forest ecology” to breathe in phytoncides – antibacterial organic compounds – to aid relaxation and reduce stress. Guests wade barefoot through rapids, bounce on beds of moss and observe local wildlife.

What’s not to like? Yes, there is an element of commercialisation to all of this, which is essentially just returning humans to their natural state within nature for a limited period of time. But when so much of our precious life is dominated by unnatural environments, pollution and noise, not to mention forest fires, any recognition of the value of forests gets my vote. And yes, unless you come across a hot spring during your trip, you do keep your clothes on.

Result

Arsenal 4
Monreal (51'), Ramsey (82'), Lacazette 85', 89')

West Ham United 1
Arnautovic (64')

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.   

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

The specs: 2018 Maserati GranTurismo/GranCabrio

Price, base Dh485,000 (GranTurismo) and Dh575,000 (GranCabrio)

Engine 4.7L V8

Transmission Six-speed automatic

Power 460hp @ 7,000rpm

Torque 520Nm @ 4,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 14.3L (GranTurismo) and 14.5L (GranCabrio) / 100km

The specs: 2018 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Price, base / as tested Dh99,000 / Dh132,000

Engine 3.6L V6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power 275hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 3,700rpm

Fuel economy combined 12.2L / 100km

Scoreline:

Cardiff City 0

Liverpool 2

Wijnaldum 57', Milner 81' (pen)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Match info

Liverpool 4
Salah (19'), Mane (45+2', 53'), Sturridge (87')

West Ham United 0


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