The Impact Of Nature On Health: Uncovering The Science Of Connecting With The Great Outdoors
Do you ever feel overwhelmed and stressed out because of your work or everyday life? You aren’t alone.
Most of us are spending 90% of our time indoors, overworking, rushing around in a busy commute, and staring at screens for too long.
This obviously isn’t great for our health!
But there is a solution – we can discover the healing power of nature.
In Japan, embracing the outdoors has become a tradition for centuries and it has proven to be extremely beneficial for both physical and mental health.
Forest air can improve our stress levels, quality of sleep, immunity, and much more.
Plus, it helps the planet too!
The sections in this book show how you can use nature to bring balance into your life.
You will learn about the connection between Japanese culture and nature; why forest air is good for you; as well as how engaging with nature helps the planet every day.
So don’t wait any longer – start discovering your own healing power today!
The Benefits Of Forest Bathing: Reducing Stress And Improving Health In Japan And Beyond
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a traditional Japanese practice focused on the healing power of nature.
It is believed to have its roots in Japan’s centuries-long relationship with forests and the deep beliefs that people had in it being a divine space.
This practice was formally acknowledged and popularized by Tomohide Akiyama, the Director General of the Agency of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan in the early eighties.
The essential connection between humans and nature still very much exists in modern Japan – which is why more people are turning to forest bathing for its many physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
Spending time in a natural environment can reduce stress levels, improve your mental health and even combat life threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart attacks.
Forest bathing has become increasingly popular among those who live in cities due to globalization that has seen 78 percent of Japanese inhabitants currently living in urban areas.
Ultimately, this ancient Japanese practice could be your go-to remedy for fatigue, stress and illness without having to leave the comfort of your home – making it an accessible form of relaxation in this ever-changing world!
Scientific Evidence Proves That Forest Bathing Is A Natural Way To Promote Mental And Physical Well-Being
For years, the evidence behind how spending time in forests could aid our health and wellbeing was anecdotal at best.
However, in 2004, a collaboration between a Japanese author, government agencies and academics established the Forest Therapy Study Group to formally study the links between trees and human health.
Since this initial study, many further studies have been conducted which demonstrate that forest bathing can reap tangible benefits for mental and physical well-being.
By undertaking one-and-a-half miles through the forest–the same distance typically walked on a regular day–study participants revealed improved sleep time trajectory as well as decreased ratings of stress, anger and anxiety levels throughout their trip.
Furthermore, most significantly perhaps is the role of trees’ natural oils (phytoncides) which are release into the air we breathe when we spend time outside among nature.
By increasing our exposure to these phytoncides (released from plants), more natural killer cells increased in number and activity which boosts immunity against virus infection and tumor cells – lasting for upto thirty days following agreement of the study.
Additional exposure to harmless Mycobacterium vaccae present in soil produced an effect akin to what antidepressants typically do – make people happier!
In summary, scientific evidence has revealed that there is immense potential benefit gained by taking part in forest bathing to boost our overall health and well being.
4 Steps To Master The Art Of Forest Bathing
When it comes to forest bathing, the goal is to maximize the health benefits that this activity provides.
Listening to nature, appreciating its beauty and taking in all the fragrances are one way of doing exactly that!
The trick is finding an environment that you find most relaxing, whether it be a nature reserve, city park or even your own garden.
Once you’ve found your ideal spot, engage all of your senses, starting with sound.
Forest bathing allows you to escape the commotion of urban spaces and enjoy natural silence -the sound of nature without any man-made noise.
Birds chirping and the wind blowing are just some examples of natural sounds from mother nature that can help relax and unwind.
Researchers have found that listening to these sounds activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for rest and relaxation.
To further immerse yourself into this experience, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths!
The next step would be appreciating its beauty by gazing at its calming colors like greens & blues which can reduce stress & anxiety.
Nature also contains pleasant scents like trees, phytoncides and ground aromas like petrichor (earthy smell after rain).
To take full advantage of this natural aromatherapy try doing some yogic breathing exercises while enjoying your surroundings!
Forest bathing can truly provide us with a much needed escape away from our day-to-day busy lifestyle if we pay attention to the details!
Reconnect With Nature Through Touch And Taste For An Enjoyable Forest Bathing Experience
The key to restoring your connection with nature is not just about listening and inhaling the scents – you have to get up close and personal by touching and tasting it.
To really enjoy the benefits of being in nature, Natures Nutrition‘s Forest Bathing Book suggests that you use your sense of touch.
This means picking up rocks, twigs, feeling the texture of flower petals, leaves, and tree trunks.
Not only that, but they also suggest grounding yourself to nature’s natural low electric charge.
Stand on soil, grass or sand with your bare feet for 20 minutes a day apart from avoiding glass surfaces and those which have been sprayed with pesticides.
Tasting nature is another great way to experience it.
There are plenty of foods in forests that you can consume if you know what to look for.
Certain wild vegetables are highly nutritious and contain healing electrons from the earth; evergreen coniferous trees make great tea too!
Don’t forget about fresh water streams that provide refreshing drinks as well!
Overall, forest bathing helps awaken a sense of wonder, excitement and happiness which has been studied by Canadian researchers who found that spending time in nature increases these positive emotions!
Finding Ways To Forest Bathe In The Constraints Of Everyday Life
Going to a forest for some relaxing forest bathing can be quite difficult due to everyday commitments, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the wonderful benefits.
You can bring elements of nature inside and it’s totally possible to forest bathe in your home or office!
Potted plants are a great way to not only brighten up a room but also help with air quality.
During the day, plants increase the level of oxygen released by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen while some plants such as succulents and orchids keep releasing oxygen at night.
On top of that, they also absorb toxins in the air from paint, cleaning products or cigarettes.
Plants introduce moisture into the air which helps reduce respiratory issues like coughs, sore throats and even reduce chances of them happening.
Essential oils are also great replacements to seeing trees that release those incredible phytoncides as they can mimic their smell as well!
You can introduce essential oil into your space using diffusers, candles or bowls of wood shavings!
Last but not least, sounds of both audios and music from nature can help with concentration, focus and grounding yourself too if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out about work so running an audio playback is recommended for better results.
The Power Of Forest Bathing: Connecting With Nature As A Step Towards Preservation
When it comes to preserving nature, one of the key messages we must keep in mind is that connecting with nature makes us more likely to preserve it.
This connection can help us understand and appreciate all the beauty and benefits that forests have to offer.
It has become increasingly evident how important forest preservation is as an estimated 300 million people call forests home, and a further 1.6 billion rely on them for survival.
Sadly, 32 million acres of land are being lost each year due to deforestation and development.
Fortunately, governments, businesses and institutions around the world have begun to recognize this issue and are now coming up with initiatives that promote healthy relationships between people and nature.
In Japan alone there are nearly 60 locations dedicated solely to forest bathing alone!
Park Prescription programs in America also encourage time spent outdoors in parks to improve health.
Urban parks play an invaluable role in providing green canopy cover which helps preserve forests by cleansing our environment of toxins while also providing essential oxygen.
Some cities such as Paris have even converted old railways into three-mile long parks!
It is particularly important as well that we help children connect with nature so they can grow up understanding its importance too.
Schools across many countries have started using parks as classrooms for students to enjoy their education in a natural setting!
These measures are slowly making more people take notice of the importance of preserving forests and helping us build better connections with nature – something absolutely essential if we want future generations to benefit from these precious resources.
In summary, Forest Bathing teaches us that nature offers us amazing health benefits.We can reaping these benefits by engaging our senses; inhaling the oils and bacteria that can boost our immunity and reduce our stress levels; appreciating the sounds, colors and patterns of nature; touching the earth to receive healing electrons; and consuming beneficial plants for their vitamins.
Additionally, it’s beneficial to take your exercise outdoors, as research shows that this is less tiring than exercising indoors and more enjoyable.
By taking the time to appreciate the great outdoors we can feel more relaxed, healthier and happier.