“Forest bathing”: Beneficial Experience For Body and Mind
“Forest Bathing” what in the heck is that? A new “conspiracy theory”? One might think! Well for many people who enjoy this practice, it is an old daily or weekly routine many practice to stay healthy in mind and body.
What is “Forest bathing”?
The term Forest bathing comes from Japan, and it is called 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. Forest bathing is not jogging or hiking in the forrest as it is very similar and many hikers and joggers know how important it is to jog and hike through a deep forest. Forest bathing is more of a walk alone or with a group of people preferably in an untouched forest far away from city lights, radio towers and city noice. Walk in the forrest while soaking all the benefits a symbiosis of trees, grass, shrubs and animals give us.
Never before have we been so separated from and removed from the natural world. According to projections, 66% of the world’s population will reside in cities by 2050. The Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored survey found that the typical North American spends 93% of their time indoors. In the city and indoors where all the noice, radio waves, cell phone towers and air pollution takes place!
Well, out of this necessity, Forest Bathing was born!
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Benefits of Forest Bathing
Forest bathing is a potent remedy for the stresses of contemporary life that has been shown to improve your physical and mental health as well as foster a deep connection to nature within you. Shinrin yoku, also known as Forest Bathing, is a Japanese technique that promotes both physical and emotional health. It has been demonstrated to lower heart rate and blood pressure, enhance the immune system, free up creativity, lessen the creation of stress hormones, as well as improve emotions of happiness and hasten the recovery from disease. In a meta-analysis of previous studies on forest bathing, the Nature Connectedness Research Group at Derby University discovered that the evidence is consistent with a “3 circles” model, where the circles represent the pursuit of joy, connecting to calm, and avoiding threat, each of which triggers a different set of hormones. They discovered that we had an emotional reaction to the forest. Nature strikes a balance between the three rings, promoting happiness and mental health, which naturally has an effect on our physical health as well.
Studies have shown that while mind relaxes, we can learn faster and learned subjects are programmed deeper in our conscious and subconscious mind. A 2012 US study found that a group of people who spent four days away from technology in nature were 50% more innovative problem solvers. Forest bathing’s peaceful atmosphere removes the numerous distractions of modern life and clears your thoughts.
An other research “shows a considerable benefit of shinrin yoku on decrease of blood pressure,” according to a meta review published in 2016’s journal Hypertension. Reduced blood pressure protects the health of your heart and wards against cardiovascular issues including angina, strokes, and heart attacks.
Esoteric oils and Negative Ions
In Canada and other Western nations, the practice of visiting a nearby forest instead of a pharmacy hasn’t exactly taken off. But nature has very important healing aspects stored everywhere we look. The natural oils found in plants, known as phytoncides, are a tree’s first line of defence against bacteria, insects, and fungi. Phytoncides have been demonstrated to help reduce stress hormone levels and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Also, they increase the activity of natural killer cells and the creation of anti-cancer proteins, we can learn from researches.
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Negative ions, or simply negatively charged molecules, are also present in forests. It is thought that negative ions trigger metabolic processes that raise serotonin levels in the body, which elevates mood, reduces stress, and gives us more energy. Negative ions boost blood flow to the brain, which promotes more alertness, less tiredness, and more mental vigour. They might also offer defence against airborne pathogens. Negative ion machines are advertised and sold in stores for this reason. Actually, the negative ions in the air are taken out by the air conditioning in our homes. We experience a sense of renewal as a result of opening our car windows or spending some time outside.
Most of naturally occurred negative ions can be found under and around waterfalls, high mountains and in forests. Plants have been considered natural resources for the production of Negative Air Ions because it has been documented that they can produce them under normal growing conditions. In the circumstances of organic growth, various plants produced varying levels of NAIs.
Forest bathing therefore is soaking in essential oils, negative ions and all other substances natural environment like forests offer us. Perhaps, the search for health and longer life is a better connection with nature instead of our technology! If we follow science and open our selves to new methods, we can all surely benefit from it.