Japanese researchers have been at the forefront of studying the health benefits of nature. As early as the 1980s they coined the term “Shinrinyoku” or “forest bathing.”
These researchers have also discovered that people who lived near forests had lower rates of lung, breast, uterine, prostate, kidney, and colon cancers. Since forests cover 67% of the land in Japan, “forest bathing” is easily accessible for Japanese people. The practice has become an accepted and commonplace form of therapy.
Japanese scientists are now studying the health benefits of phytoncides. Phytoncides are a lot of what comprise the dampy, earthy “forest smell” you experience when you walk into the woods. They are natural compounds released by trees, substances that naturally defend the plants from bacteria, insects, and fungi. There are 5,000 types of phytoncides and they’re now being shown to be beneficial to humans when inhaled through the lungs.
Forest exposure has also been shown to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, and increase your ability to focus.
FOREST BATHING & HIKES IN SEATTLE NORTHCOUNTRY