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While some of us city-dwellers only understood the importance of getting outdoors when we were abruptly trapped inside in 2020, the Japanese have known for many years that spending mindful time in nature has a multitude of benefits for the mind, body and soul.

The Japanese term ‘Shinrin-yoku’, translated to ‘forest bathing’ or ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’, originated in the 1980s and describes any form of consciously immersing oneself in nature using all five senses.

Forest bathing is a form of ‘social prescribing’; that is prescribing sports and other activities instead of drugs or traditional treatments, to aid in patient recovery or act as preventative treatment. Nature therapy aims to decrease the stressed state at which the body enters treatment by using the restorative effects of natural surroundings. This has been seen to lower blood pressure, decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boost immune function (Hansen et al., 2017).

While shinrin-yoku was founded in the beautiful Akasawa forest of Nagano, densely populated with 300-year-old Japanese cypress trees and slow running clear streams, the practice of forest bathing itself can be practiced anywhere you envelop yourself in nature.

How to get started:

Pick a quieter time of day. If possible, try to schedule picking a time when the woods are likely to be empty. Being alone increases your chances of being able to disconnect with the external world and concentrate on what’s going on internally.

Turn off your devices. Get rid of those notification alerts and bright blue light. This time is for yourself, be confident in allowing yourself the space to be alone with nature.

Slow down. Move through your surroundings slowly, taking notice of elements you may typically miss.

Use all your senses. Focus on each of your senses in turn. Why not try the practice of ‘earthing’ while you’re at it?

Deep breathing. If you struggle to practice deep breathing, try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breath in through your nose for 4, hold for 7 and breath out through your mouth for 8. This technique can help reduce activation of the sympathetic nervous system and switch on your parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the ‘rest and digest’ system. In doing so, you are signalling to your body that you are safe. With safety insured, your heart rate can slow, and internal healing can begin.

When you’re not admiring the shiny tiled walls and terrazzo flooring, steal away to the treatment rooms, complete with retro reclining chairs imported from Japan. Here, skilled aestheticians work their magic using high-quality products and innovative techniques.

Our words to live by are ‘give a fig’. We believe in creating thoughtful, immersive experiences that transform your everyday. We have four principles that guide everything we do, internally and externally: curiosity, communication, community, and consistency.

The collaboration with MIRROR WATER came about organically after Estée booked her first treatment at Formula Fig in Vancouver as a birthday treat.

“I had never heard of them and a quick Google search told me that this was the best place to go,” she says. “I saw the unique and impressive curation of products on their wall and knew MIRROR WATER had to be on those shelves. I can be slightly relentless and luckily on this occasion, it paid off. Working together has been a dream and I’m excited for this partnership to grow.” - Estée Lalonde

At Formula Fig, guests can now enjoy a curated selection of MIRROR WATER products, including the SMOOTH Body Oil and RUB Solid Balm. These products complement Formula Fig's immersive skincare experiences, extending the benefits beyond the facial treatments.

At the heart of both brands is a “dedication to nurturing yourself from every angle”. Formula Fig specialises in rejuvenating the skin, while MIRROR WATER focuses on promoting relaxation and self-reflection through bath and body care.

We love partnering with skincare brands who embrace a whole-self approach: the notion that caring for ourselves begins with the rituals we take the time for each day. MIRROR WATER offers a great assortment of skincare and body care products that our guests can bring home with them to complement their treatment routine.

It’s not uncommon for someone to book in for a facial because they’re feeling stressed or drained and just want someone to take care of them for an hour,” adds Estée. “That’s the same person who might benefit from the essential oils in our body oil for example. Something to carry on the relaxation at home between treatments.

In line with this holistic approach, Estée's personal journey and passion for wellness have shaped MIRROR WATER into a community-driven space that encourages mindfulness and balance. It's more than just products; it's about fostering a sense of wellbeing that extends beyond skincare routines.

Uniquely female-founded, owned, and operated, Formula Fig is powered by its deep beliefs in community, design, and service – helping all of its guests #GiveAFig about their skin. Book your treatment in Vancouver, Toronto, or Los Angeles via their website.

WRITTEN BY: Emma Gibbins