Today we are exploring the practice known as Forest Bathing, which is scientifically backed with lots of compelling scientific research now coming mostly out of Japan.
The word “biophilia” means the love of nature, and the idea of humans having a naturally healing biophilic response when in the presence of nature has been a popular theory for decades, especially in architecture and design.
This is the reason why it has long been fashionable to put indoor gardens, fountains and potted plants in office buildings, as many studies have demonstrated this investment actually pays off in employee wellness and productivity.
The basic idea of a biophilic response is that when we are in the presence of nature, living plants, running water, as well as natural shapes and patterns, then our body can much more easily go into a parasympathetic state, wherein we can easily relax, digest and focus, and wherein our immune system is supported.
In contrast, if we are in a sympathetic stress response, then we have adrenaline pumping which pressurize us and injects intense levels of energy into our system, while also suppressing our immune system.
Stress can easily happen at work, in offices and we can be affected by the stress of other people working with us.
This is then exacerbated even more by the lack of natural environment: the artificial fluorescent lights, the metal, drywall and plastic, the straight lines and 90 degree angles, none of which exist in nature.
Creating natural environments indoors in order to induce a biophilic response has been used with moderation to improve employee wellness for many decades. But the new research now coming mostly out of Japan is taking the power of nature to new levels.
With Forest Bathing, not only do you get a powerful biophilic response, because you are immersed in nature, but new research shows that forest air contain compounds called phytoncides which dramatically boost immune function.
So Forest Bathing actually combines multiple effective mechanisms to produce a synergistic effect which greatly reduces stress levels and boosts immune function.
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE & FOREST THERAPY
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy has developed many different programs for people wanting to use nature as therapy, from 3 hour protocols to multi-day programs which promise increased levels of physical, mental and emotional wellness.
I feel very blessed to live in a mixed forest with redwoods, pines, oaks, madrones and other types of trees right in my backyard.
And I also am not too far from the ocean, which is another excellent place to go to receive the deep rejuvenation that nature offers. Though there are no phytoncides at the beach like in forest air, so the rejuvenation we get at the beach is more about the electrons we receive from the negative ions produced by crashing waves as well as from the direct access to the Earth’s 8hz charge.
(Click image to) Check out the AHW episode on Grounding for more information about that.
I really hope you feel more relaxed and centered right now just from the biophilic response you experienced while watching the scenes of nature in this video, and I hope this has made learning about Forest Bathing an enjoyable and beneficial experience for you.
And I hope you inspired to learn more and to get out into nature to experiment for yourself, to see how Forest Bathing can help you take control of your vitality and live a happier, healthier life.
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