Many people have turned to the 'medicine' of simply being amongst the trees
Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing", is a term that was first coined as part of a national public health program in Japan in the 1980s as a practice for relaxation and preventative healthcare - by just being in the presence of trees. Inspired by ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices, this green concept has been growing in global popularity.
Numerous studies have pointed out that being in nature can bring health benefits - including lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, reducing stress hormone production and improving the overall feelings of well-being. In the 2012 book Your Brain on Nature, written by US physician Eva Selhub and biophilosopher Alan Logan, nature-based therapies are being introduced as a countermeasure to today's technology-addicted lifestyle.
Forest bathing is simple and has little barrier to entry - just go to the woods and open all your senses in the embrace of the trees. As follows are a couple of great places to practices in Hong Kong and, if you'd like to try it with a professional coach, Jasmine Nunns' organization Kembali provides such services, including guided walks into a number of local forests.
Sai Kung East Country Park
Officially designated in 1978, this country park takes up a vast area on the Sai Kung Peninsula. Two tree walks are available here: Tai Tan and Wong Shek.
Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve
This flourishing nature reserve's woodland is hilly, with a diversity of tree species and numerous streams and rivers. It's also one of the best locations in the city for forest bird observation.