About Forest Bathing…
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing comes from the Japanese term, Shinrin-yoku. The phrase simply means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” The technique of forest bathing (also referred to as forest therapy) was developed in Japan in the 1980s and has become common in Japanese medicine for preventive health care and healing. There is a growing body of scientific literature on the health benefits of time spent immersed in a living forest. This research (primarily from scientists in Japan and South Korea) has led to the steady growth of Shinrin-yoku or “Forest Bathing” throughout the world.
Health Benefits of Forest Bathing…
These benefits are derived from the essential oils given off by trees and plants into the forest atmosphere. These oils are called phytoncides and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
The phytoncides not only protect the trees from harmful germs and insects, they also protect humans. Studies have shown that these oils can boost immune system functions, fight disease and reduce stress – the effects can last for more than 30 days.
Some of the benefits you can expect may include…
Extensive research has proven that phytoncides increase the Natural Killer (NK) cells in the body. These are white blood cells that bind to tumor cells and virus-infected cells and kill them. Increased NK cells have been shown to enhance your body’s immune system.
Under stress the body releases the hormone cortisol which dampens the immune system and makes us prone to heart and metabolic diseases. Studies have shown a decrease in the level of cortisol after a walk in the forest.
Boosts Immune System
Phytoncides increase the balance between the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) that lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
Studies conducted after a Forest Bathing walk have also shown a decrease on scores for anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue and an increase in scores for short term memory attention and problem solving.
Improves Your Mood
Frees Up Your Creativity
David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, showed in a research study that participants saw a 50% improvement in creative problem solving after three days immersed in nature with all access to modern technology removed.