Nature is always my greatest escape, whether it’s the beach or the forest. I feel that for many the same is true, there is so much we can learn from nature and feeling connected to nature is very revitalizing. I had heard of the Japanese term “forest bathing” and wanted to look into to some evidence based research behind. There are times when I crave to be in the trees and after a hike I feel completely refreshed but why? In Japan, it is called “shinrin yoku” or forest bathing and it was developed in the 1980’s. Healthy benefits include: lower pulse rate, can promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower blood pressure and greater parasympathetic nerve activity.
“A study in Japan showed that when people walked through a forested area, their cortisol levels dropped 16% more than when they walked in a cityscape. Plus, after 15 minutes, their blood pressure levels lowered, too. Researchers have also discovered that phytoncides play a big part.”
A study took place in Japan in the ‘80s by researcher Dr. Qing Li. His studies discovered that when humans stand among the trees they actually absorb the phytoncides which have the ability to activate the production of natural killer (NK) cell activity a type of white blood cell that fights cancer and tumor growth. Dr. Li’s study also showed that the increased NK production lasted form more than 7 days after the time spent in the forest, and this applied to both females and males. I found this to be amazing so even if you can only get out to stroll through the forest once a week you can reap the benefits all week long! So get out there, relax your mind, breathe deeply and soak it all up.