Monday, December 9, 2013

Take two hours in a pine forest and call me in the morning

Doctors in Japan have been prescribing "Shinrin-yoku" or "forest bathing" since the early 1980's, 
with positive, well-documented health-benefits.

In a crowded urban-centric nation, Japan has 40 designated "therapy forests" and is determined to increase that number to 100 by 2020.

The concept is simple.  Humans have spent 99.9 percent of their evolutionary history in natural environments.  Getting back to nature is a physiological homecoming.

According to Japanese studies, time spent in a forest setting, results in improved cortisol (stress) levels, pulse rates, blood pressure and para sympathetic nerve activity.    

Further benefits, from boosting intra-cellular, anticancer proteins, to an improvement in the body's immune function have been recorded.

Simply sitting for 15 minutes in the woods, rather than in a city-setting, results in a significant drop in heart rate and salivary cortisol.

c'mon, you didn't expect me to go into the woods without Wendy and Trey !

Breathing in that marvellous scent of wood essential oils is a key ingredient in the multi-sensory experience of "forest bathing".  But being mindful of the sights and sounds of the forest is also neededfor the full benefit to be obtained.  

  If you are someone who enjoys spending time in the great out-of-doors then you already know that thehealth benefits extend beyond the physical into the psychological, as forest bathers see significant increases in positive feelings and decreases in negative feelings.   

Leave that MP3 at home.

Don't rush.  

Enjoy the walk.

Treasure the world around you.  

Inhale DEEPLY.

And call me in the morning.

To learn more about "Forest bathing":

For best forest bathing practice, Dr. Qing Li, the foremost researcher in the area of forest bathing, recommends walking only a moderate distance on your bathing trips (2.5 km in two hours, 5 km in four), and he stresses that you should never overly tire yourself. If you need to rest, rest. If you need to drink, drink. If you wish to sit and read your book, do so. Forest bathing is about relaxing, so relax.


  1. I had never heard of forest bathing before. But it makes a heck of a lot more sense than blowing a caboodle on a spa!

    1. I'm just not a spa sorta gal. Besides ... I don't think dogs are allowed in the spa.

  2. Wonderful and new info for me. Sounds heavenly to me. Wish I had a pine forest where I could walk er, bathe/bask in the delicious offerings of a conifer's forest. Nice post Sybil.

    1. I am sure you have some marvellous, restful equivalent in your neck of the woods.

  3. And this is why I like being up at the lake! Soothing, calming, and lots and lots of fresh air!

    1. Hey cuz, why didn't we go to the lake ? just too darn busy I guess. NEXT TIME ... OK ?

  4. Hmmm, we should be the healthiest people on the planet, then... Maybe it doesn't count if you stay inside your house. *grin*

    1. Your house is right there smack dab in the middle of the woods so you're OK.


Thanks for stopping by. I really do love to read your comments.