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.
Enjoy the walk.
Treasure the world around you.
And call me in the morning.
To learn more about "Forest bathing": http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/
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.