I love walking through the forest and experiencing the quiet, sights, sounds of birds chirping, leaves rustling and other beautiful wonders of Mother Nature. Article about its benefits. http://energytimes.com/pages/departments/0718/earthmatters0718.html
Science supports the benefits of time spent in forests. Research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that walking in a natural area like a forest for 90 minutes helps boost mood.
Other studies found that forest bathing helps lower stress, pulse rate, blood pressure and levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
One analysis of 64 studies on forest bathing also found the practice to have therapeutic effects. Hansen, the lead author, hopes to draw attention to research on the topic.
She also wants to encourage additional research on forest bathing involving “various cultures and locations around the globe, as well as larger sample sizes, in order for researchers to arrive at definitive answers that may in turn be generalizable to the population.”
In the meantime, the latest investigations are exploring the potential for this practice to trigger positive immune responses—a promising new area of research.
Thanks to phytoncides, microbe-fighting compounds that trees emit to protect themselves against germs and insect infestations, forest bathing might improve human immune system function.
The idea is that you breathe in these substances, which then boost the activity of your body’s natural killer (NK) cells, the cells that respond to viruses and tumor formation, and are linked to cancer prevention. Page notes that pine trees release the highest levels of phytoncides, so forests with abundant pine species could have the strongest impact on the immune system.
You don’t necessarily need to find a pine forest to reap the benefits, however. Spending time in a park, arboretum, botanical garden or even your own backyard can have profound effects on health and well-being.