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How ‘Forest Bathing’ Keeps Us Well

How ‘Forest Bathing’ Keeps Us Well

Micro-dosing on Nature Can Help with Stress

The practice, long popular in Japan, is gaining popularity globally as a way of harnessing the health benefits of being outdoors.

Nowadays it feels like we never have a minute to stop and just relax. We’re so busy that there’s always something going on; whether it’s work, family, emotional, or other aspects of our lives. It can feel like there are always things to do or to worry about.

Being active and getting outdoors regularly is a great way to keep healthy and fit physically. It can also play an important role in your mental wellbeing. Research suggests exercise can enhance the body’s ability to respond to stress, and increase norepinephrine levels, which helps moderate the brains’ stress-response.

The idea is simple: being around trees for relaxation and recreation can help to reduce stress, increase mental-wellness and boost immune systems. Breathing in the organic compounds (phytocides) that trees emit as you explore the forest, can directly improve your health and wellbeing.

Using nature for emotional wellbeing is well known across the globe. In 1982, Japan made shinrin-yokuor ‘forest bathing’ a part of its national health program. The aim was to briefly  reconnect people with nature in the simplest way possible. Go to the woods, breathe deeply, be at peace. Forest bathing was Japan’s medically sanctioned method of unplugging  before there were smartphones to unplug from! Since shirin-yoku’s inception, continued research has been carried out testing its efficacy, and the documented benefits to one’s health include lowered blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and stress hormones.

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