Forest Bathing

August 18, 2010

The Japanese are at it again. No, I’m not talking about their being replaced by China as the second largest world economy. I’m referring to their most interesting way of looking at life, Nature and well-being.

The other day I stumbled upon a New York Times article about forest bathing. Before you think you’ve got to grab a zinc tub and some Ivory soap and head for the woods, think again. Forest bathing refers to the Japanese term, “Shinrin-yoku”, which means to literally surround yourself with forest air. The airborne natural chemicals, phytonides, that plants emit to stave off insects and strengthen their immune system have been proven to increase our natural killer cell (aka white blood cell) activity. In a 2007 study of men who took a two-hour forest walk twice a day, their white blood cells increased by 50% in just a few days!  Japan’s Chiba University conducted another study that found the forest air let to lower concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, a lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure. Now those are even more reasons to strap on your boots and go for that nature walk.

Although the University of Sussex claims a nature walk reduces stress only by 42% (as determined by pulse rate) while reading just six minutes brings your stress levels down by 68%, the side benefits of walking through the woods are very compelling.

So the next time you find you’re teetering toward burnout, push your chair back, walk away from your computer and head for the wooded hills for a slow walk.

Take a dip in the forest air. Your heart will thank you for it.

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6 Responses to “Forest Bathing”


  1. It is finally explained to me, in this blog entry, why I love the beach but why I NEED to live among trees!

    Thanks Christine, Maria

  2. powerofslow Says:

    Maria,

    I just took a forest bath ~ it was divine. They say hugging trees really can ground you. Now I know the scientific reason, too!

    XXOO ~Christine

  3. JoyChristin Says:

    I *love* forest bathing, and ocean bathing and am glad to spend abundant time enjoying both…


  4. […] Forest Bathing August 2010 3 comments […]


  5. […] said this before, but now I have even more scientific proof that a few minutes outside can change your […]


  6. […] Read a good book before you go to bed. Research shows that even six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by […]


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