The healing forest


The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku which translates very roughly to “forest bathing.”

The good news is it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and boosts your immune system.

The better news is you don’t need a bathing suit to particpate.

The great news is you don’t need to do much of anything – other than to get yourself into the woods – in order enjoy the full benefits.

Japanese scientists have demonstrated that something we all feel is verifiable by science.

They tested two groups of people.

One went on a 40 minute walk through a forest.

The other went on a 40 minute “walk” on a treadmill in a laboratory.

Both groups got the mechanical benefits of exercise, but the “forest bathers” also showed lower cortisol levels.

Chiba University, Center for Environment, Health and Field Services, has lead the research in this field and discovered that in addition to lowered cortisol levels, lower blood pressure and pulse rate along with increased heart rate variability have been measured too. All these things are indicative of a body that can handle stress well.

The Japanese studies are in synch an intuitively driven approach used in 19th century Germany and the United States for the treatment of tuberculosis. It was called “the forest cure” and was championed by Peter Detweiler and Hermann Brehmer who set up sanatoriums in Germany’s pine forests and Edward Trudeau who did the same in the Adirondack forests of New York.

More on this from Eva M. Selub MD and Alan C. Logan ND, the authors of Your Brain on Nature here:

– Ken McCarthy