Forest Bathingforest brings happiness to everyone….
Forest bathing, the Japanese art and science of Shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means ‘forest’ and yoku means ‘bath’. So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. This is not exercise, or hiking or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. And when open up our senses, we begin to connect to the natural world. We love nature because we learned to love the things that helped us to survive. We feel comfortable in nature because that is where we have lived for most of our life on earth. We are part of the natural world. Our rhythms are the rhythms of nature. As we walk slowly through the forest, seeing, listening, smelling, tasting and touching, we bring our rhythms into step with nature. And when we are in harmony with the natural world we can bring to heal, we are refreshed and restored.
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls stress the health epidemic of the twenty-first century. And finding ways to manage stress – not just for our own health but for the health of our communities, at home and in the workplace – is the most significant health challenge of the future. The great news is that even a small amount of time in nature can have an impact on our health. A two-hour forest bath will help you to unplug from screen and slow down. It will bring you into the present moment and de-stress and relax you.
There is now a wealth data that proves that Forest bathing can:
- Improve concentration and memory
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve energy level
- Lower blood sugar level
- Lift depression
- Help you sleep
- Improve cardiovascular and metabolic health
- Improvement of weakened immunity, with an increase in the count of the body’s natural killer (NK) cells, which are known to fight tumours and infection
- Increased relaxation of the body due to increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system
- Reduced stress of the body due to reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity
- Increase anti-cancer protein production.
- Help you to lose weight.
The power of trees – the phytoncides effect.The experimental research showed that exposure to phytoncides
- Significantly increase the numbers of NK cells and NK activity, as well as enhancing the activity of the anti-cancer proteins
- Significantly decrease the level of stress hormones
- Increase the hour of sleep
- Decrease the scores for tension/anxiety, anger/hostility and fatigue/confusion
- Stimulate a pleasant mood
- Significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate
As well as having a higher concentration of oxygen, the air in the forest is also full of phytoncides. Phytoncides are the natural oils within a plant and are part of a tree’s defence system. Trees release phytoncides to protect them from bacteria, insects and fungi.The power of soil – Microbes
There is also a substance in soil that we breath in when we walk in the forest and which makes us feel happier. This is common and harmless bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae. In other words, the soil stimulates the immune system, and a boosted immune system makes us feel happy. More evidence that being in the forest atmosphere and using all your senses is good for your health, and a very good reason for getting your hands dirty and a barefoot walk while you are there.The scent of the trees
The smells of the forest are an essential part because we feel so good. But there is something else in the air that is said to make us feel better when we are in nature and which we can’t actually smell- and that is negative air ions. Ions are charged particle in the air. They can be positively charged or negatively charged. Negative ions are the good ones and are said to have energizing and refreshing effects, and to help increase mental clarity and our sense of well-being. There are many more negative ions outdoor than there are indoors. And they are particularly abundant in forests and near waterfalls, rivers and streams. Yogic breathing helps to create a sense of calm. It decreases our heart rate and blood pressure and relaxes our muscles and is good way to increase your intake of the forest’s natural aromatherapy.Spending time in Nature
Trees helps us think more clearly, be more creative, and makes us nicer and more generous. Walking in the forest clears our minds and helps to think. Several studies have shown that, when we connect with nature, we are reminded that we are part of something larger than ourselves. Faced with the awesome vastness of the universe, we can feel flooded with gratitude. And even more amazing is the fact that not only do the beautiful and magnificent sights of nature make us feel better, they can actually improve our health. Research has demonstrated that positive emotions of the kind we experience when we look at nature can increase our levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines. These are the proteins that tell the immune system to work harder. And anything that makes our immune system work harder is a boost to our health.
There is no medicine you can take that has such a direct influence on your health as a walk in a beautiful forest. Once you’ve discovered the healing powers of trees, you can lose yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, leave everyday stress behind, and reach a place of greater calm and wellness.