Forest bathing- is proven to lower heart rate blood pressure, boost your immune system, reduce stress hormone production, and improve basically your overall feeling of wellbeing. This Japanese practice- being in the presence of trees, became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982- shinrin-yoku, the phrase coined by the forestry ministry to promote topiary as therapy.
Picnicking under the cherry blossoms in bloom for example, is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took off.
2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent around $4 million dollars on 48 therapy trials studying the psychological and physiological effects of forest bathing. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, in one of the trials measured the activity of the natural killer cells in the immune system before and after exposed to forest bathing.
These natural killer cells provided rapid responses to infected cells, responded to tumor formations, and also assisted the immune system’s health and cancer prevention. After one week after a forest bath in a 2009 study, Li’s subjects showed significant increase in natural killer cells and also had positive other positive effects that lasted for a month following each week in the woods.
This is mainly due to the several essential oils( called phytoncide) found in the wood, plants, and some fruit and vegetables, which are emitted to protect themselves from insects and germs. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better, is it that you inhaling the phytoncide from the plants, which is improving your immune system function.
In two of the 48 studies, Li sent groups of young men and women on a three-day trip that included several forest baths and a staying in hotel in the middle of the forest. The group had their blood tests taken before and after their trip and the tests showed a huge boost in natural Killer cells.