Have you ever heard about forest bathing? Let us tell you today!
Forest bathing is a healing practice in Japan, known for centuries as shinrin-yoku (森林 浴). During this practice, which can be translated into English as “Forest Bathing”, individuals completely immerse themselves in nature.
Forest baths are a combined effect on all senses of the forest landscape, flora, fauna, and microclimate. Some scientists believe that these are “beneficial visual environments”, others – the absence of an urban environment and anthropogenic landscape.
Studies have shown that “forest bathing” decreases heart rate, blood pressure, and stress, and boosts your immune system. Visiting the natural environment has a calming and positive neuropsychological effect due to changes in the nervous system. The level of the hormone adiponectin increases. This hormone is important for the prevention of obesity, cardiovascular and other diseases.
This is what a simple walk in the park or through the forest will benefit you:
- Reduces cortisol levels by 15%,
- Reduces pulse and blood pressure by 4%,
- Increases the number of NK cells in the blood by 50%,
- Improves immune function,
- Reduces excess activity in the prefrontal cortex
- Reduces the level of negative emotions,
- Reduces glucose levels, including in diabetic patients,
- Improves the functioning of the autonomic nervous system.
Shinrin-yoku is a healing method introduced by Japanese doctors in 1982. The first scientific works substantiated the therapeutic effect of forest baths by the presence of phytoncides in the air of forests. However, most of the scientific works speak of the effect on all the senses: while taking forest baths, we should see the beauty and power of the forest, hear the rustle of foliage and birdsong, or the ‘song of the wind’, smell the smells of the forest, feel the breeze or hug a tree.
Scientists recommend interval loads – 10 minutes of brisk walking: “You need to walk so fast that you can speak, but you cannot sing on the go.” A distance of 2.5 – 3 km is considered sufficient, and a walk in the forest should take at least an hour.
And if shortly, go to “green spaces” as much as possible.