“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir
Your health and sense of well-being, your creativity and ability to deeply relax can all be improved by spending time in nature and among trees.
Scientific evidence shows that these benefits and more are possible simply by spending time in a wooded area; it’s called ecotherapy or Shinrin-Yoku (“forest bathing”) as the Japanese refer to it.
Ecotherapy or forest bathing is not about a hike or doing outdoor yoga or any other sort of directed outdoor activity. Rather, it is about simply walking or sitting in nature, preferably without much or any purpose or direction.
Forests and trees provide numerous benefits to our health and well-being because of the phytoncides (the aroma and oils emitted from plants and trees) we breathe when we are under a canopy of trees. These arboreal essential oils, which make the air seem so fresh and rejuvenate, don’t only help us feel well, they also help the body operate better.
Positive effects of ecotherapy or forest bathing, as documented by research, include:
- Reduction in stress hormones (such as cortisol)
- Lowering of blood pressure, pulse rate and heart-rate variability
- Decreased in hostility
- Combats depression
- Improved concentration (especially in children with ADHD)
- Increased immunity and the body’s natural killer cells, which attack viruses and tumors
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