Forest and trees

Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing

 Forest bathing, or “shinrin-yoku? in Japanese, basically consists of hanging out in the woods and reaping its health benefits.  Any time you can walk among trees without distractions or hurrying  ideally for two hours or more counts as a bath in the forest.

 One study from researchers at Chiba University compared nearly 300 college-age subjects after they took walks in a city and after they walked in a forest. The students had lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, lower pulse rates and lower blood pressure after they took forest baths than on days when they’d walked in the city. Similarly, in a larger study led by researchers from Kyoto University, participants scored lower on ratings for hostility and depression after spending time in the woods compared to when they roamed an urban setting.

Additional research from Nippon Medical School found that human “natural killer” cells, which help protect against viruses and cancers, showed higher activity levels after subjects went forest bathing, increasing even further after a second day of walking in the woods. The cells continued to function at a higher level for more than a week after the experience, too. So you retain the immunity increase for many days after immersing yoursef in a forest.

It isn’t entirely clear why forest bathing works, The Washington Post notes: Some experts believe forest bathing’s health benefits come from inhaling phytoncides, the chemicals plants emit to protect themselves from bugs. Others are saying that perhaps increased feelings of awe are why forest bathers enjoy better health.

At any rate, it’s obvious nature benefits both mind and body: U.S.-based research shows nature walks clear your head more than city strolls, while one European study found that simply living in a tree-filled neighborhood decreased men’s death rates by 16 percent. Spending time in nature is also proven to relieve depression, improve focus, boost creativity and make you feel more alive.

Simply find a spot with trees, and take a two-hour walk while savoring the sights, sounds and smells of nature without rushing. Breathe deeply, sit occasionally, and touch the trees and plants around you. Soon, you just might find yourself with a greater love for nature and a healthier body, too.

If you’ve enjoyed this and would like to know about Forest Bathing experiences which will help you greatly in this process, click here
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