Forest Therapy, Forest Bathing, maybe you have heard of it. Forest Therapy is rooted in the Japanese Practice of Shirin-yoku, which is often translated as "forest bathing". But it is not a literal bath; the term refers simply to immersing yourself in the atmosphere of the forest.
Forest Therapy is more that just a meander through the woods, though. Trained forest therapy guides help participants engage in activities that help them experience the natural environment with all their senses.
The science is there to encourage our bodies to relax and be in the moment in nature, and you can experience this on your own here at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. There are so many ways you can experience the natural world for your good physical and mental health practices. Even a few minutes a day breathing in the refreshing rain filled air, or just sitting in the sunshine, can revitalize. Science Agrees: Nature is Good for You
Here is some evidence:
• Studies have shown that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in test subjects after a walk in the forest, when compared with a control group of subjects who engaged in walks within a laboratory setting.
• A recent study has indicated that forest walking can improve self-rated health status and tends to decrease psychological stress in healthy individuals. A recent study, "The Influence of Forest Therapy on Cardiovascular Relaxation in Young Adults," continues to look at the benefits of forest walking to cardiovascular health.
• The natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees, collectively known as phytoncide, have also been associated with improvements in the activity of our frontline immune defenders. A Dr. Li has measured the amount of phytoncide in the air during the studies and correlated the content to improvements in immune functioning. (Li, 2008)
• Time in nature improves our mental performance and creativity. One study of a group of Outward-Bound participants found they performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. Researcher David Strayer says this occurs when we've been immersed in nature long enough.
Some believe it is a "practice", like yoga or meditation, but sometimes you just need a moment while walking, breathing, seeing.
Get yourself outside among the trees, even for a few minutes.