‘Forest Bathing’ Nature therapy, a mental cure that everyone should try

As social and economic growth grew, crowds of people flocked to the capital city filled with condos, and office buildings which were crowded all over the area. On the other hand, the green area that should have, turned to shockingly dwindled. As a result, the gap between people and nature creates physical and mental health problems inevitably. For this reason, in Japan, there is a therapy called ‘Shinrin-yoku,’ or body cleansing with forest and nature that allows people to re-enter nature’s embrace.

‘Shinrin-yoku’ Japanese Nature Therapy

Forest bathing is a traditional Japanese therapy test called Shinrin-Yoku, which has been around since 1980. The word Shirin means forest and Yoku means bathing. It is a form of nature therapy that spends time in the deep forest alone and allows nature to heal the body and mind, to be a part of the body through five senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch which are directly related to the body’s environment such as air, temperature, smell and sound.

One of Dr. Qing Li’s research found that forest bathing improves sleep because many Japanese have sleep problems caused by high stress, both work and study. The volunteers who participated in this experiment were middle-aged office workers living in Tokyo. They went hiking with the same amount of time they normally work in cities. As a result, they had noticeably lower levels of stress and anxiety. They were able to sleep more easily and longer. In addition, afternoon hiking was found to be more beneficial than morning hiking.

Benefits of Nature Therapy

According to a study conducted by Dr. Qing Li at Nippon Medical School, more than 50% of the benefits that the body receives from forest bathing come from air chemicals in the wild, such as increased oxygen content in the air. Most importantly, trees can drive chemicals that help us fight diseases, strengthen our immune system.

There is also a lot of research from Japan that has proven that forest bathing has many health benefits. For example, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, improving cardiovascular health, reducing blood sugar, improving memory, reducing depression, increasing production of anti-cancer proteins, restoring energy, and enhancing immunity by increasing the body’s natural cell count.

Forest bathing creates sustainable tourism.

Natural forest bathing not only helps to heal the mind but also has a positive impact on sustainability, encouraging people and young generations to understand the value of forests. Many areas of the forest have been set up to promote health in both urban and non-urban areas, helping to protect forests. Meanwhile, it will also extend to tourism such as natural tourism, eco-tourism, and health tourism.

Nature has many virtues for the body and mind, and happy emotions and relaxation are often reflected when one is close to nature. In many countries, forest bathing therapy has begun to reinvent nature as part of our human way of life.

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