Spending time outdoors as often as possible is widely accepted as a habit worth cultivating for overall health. When taken a step - or several more - further in the form of forest bathing (a mindful and multisensory immersion in nature), the benefits suddenly become infinitely more profound. Read on to find out more.
For the majority of history, human beings have co-evolved with and depended on nature for their survival. It is no coincidence, then, that the more we have sought to distance ourselves from it, manipulate and even obliterate it, the sicker we have become.
Below are just a few examples of what is possible when this ever-widening gap between our evolutionary heritage and our environment is bridged.
An adaptogenic effect on blood pressure and pulse rate. A review of the scientific literature in Japan on the effects of nature therapy revealed that walking in the forest has physiological adjustment effects that bring the diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate closer to the ideal values.
A marked increase in human natural killer (NK or anti-cancer) cell activity. This study demonstrates that forest bathing can significantly enhance the immune response as measured by human natural killer cell activity and the percentage and absolute numbers of NK cells.
A reduction in blood glucose levels in diabetics. Blood glucose levels in participants in a forest bathing study were found to have declined by 74mg and 70mg after short- and long-distance walking respectively.