As peculiar as it sounds, Forest Bathing in Japan has become a common practice in the preventive health care department. But what exactly is it? It’s the simple activity of visiting a natural area for a prolonged time frame which yields many proven benefits. It’s original name is Shinrin-yoku (literally “Forest Bathing”), and nowadays it’s also starting to be commonly called “forest therapy”.
Believe it or not, this practice development dates back to the 80s. However, researchers only at a later time found out that doing it had some real repercussions on people’s health. The benefits of forest therapy are numerous. But here, for the sake of keeping it short and clear, we’ll take a look at only the most significant.
It’s One of the Best Stress Relief Activities
It’s been scientifically proven. A group of researchers of the University of Chiba ran some tests on 300 students and quickly found out that after a walk in a forest, and one in the city, the levels of the cortisol hormone were much lower after the first instance. Not only that. After the walk in the forest several subjects had a very contained blood pressure as well as a very low heart rate. They were, essentially, in a deep state of peace.
Following such research, another test was run, this time by the University of Kyoto. Similarly to the first one, the test subjects who were left wandering in the woods compared to those who stayed in the city displayed less hostility. This undeniably meant that Forest Bathing could be included among other well known stress relief activities.
It Strengthens Your Immune System
Shinrin-yoku is also extremely good for your health. Especially if you practice it frequently. Other studies performed by the Nippon Medical School found out that doing forest therapy often, increased surprisingly the activity of NK cells. NK stands for “Natural Killer”, they are the cells that help our organism fight off viruses and many forms of cancer.
Strengthening your immune system isn’t just it. Other health benefits include the following: accelerated recovery from surgery or illness, increased energy level, and improved sleep.
Understood? Springtime is approaching, which means that the perfect days to start doing some Shinrin-yoku are really behind the corner! Get a pair of comfy sneakers and a good group of friends. These experiences are even better if shared with someone!
Take some pictures along your way! You can share them with us on our Facebook page or by tagging our account on Instagram.