Fauns, elves, pixies, ghouls, trolls – the image of forests and woodlands arouse many feelings of mystery and intrigue. Not only do forests bring to mind mythical creatures, but they’re also the home of countless folklore tales and superstitions. Did you know that the Druids and the Germanic Pagans used to worship trees? No wonder the forest, in all its ethereal splendor, is the perfect place for us to take solitary strolls.
Interestingly, forests also provide the perfect place to holistically heal ourselves. All our daily tensions, struggles and woes can perish through some simple forest therapy. We all have forests, bush-lands, and woodlands near us. But how can we make the best out of these erudite ecosystems? You’ll find some suggestions below.
Go “Forest Bathing” (Shinrin Yoku)
This eccentric practice is believed by many Japanese people to enhance the immune system. And it’s scientifically proven as well. Just taking a short stroll through the forest or woodland can make you stronger and healthier. This is because the essential wood oils emitted in the air called phytoncides increase the number of killer cells in your body. These killer cells in turn help fight sickness and disease, like cancer, keeping you fit and fighting.
Interestingly, in 1982 the Forest Agency of Japan went so far as proposing forest bathing should be included in a healthy lifestyle. The Japanese have loved the practice of Shinrin Yoku so much that their companies are now tying in Forest Bathing to employee health benefits. So why not give Forest Bathing a go? You’ll find there are many benefits for the senses:
Sounds such as the whisper of wind, rustle of leaves, songs of a bird and the sound of streams have been proven to soothe the mind and therefore the brain activity. This reduces blood pressure significantly.
Just seeing the scenes of a forest has been proven to decrease heart rate, blood pressure and increase feelings of calmness and joy.
As they say “there’s something magic in the air”, and the smells of a forest can have astounding effects on the body. Walking through a forest has physiological effects which decrease blood pressure, anxiety, depression, as well as slowing breathing rates and clearing the mind. And all thanks to the aromatherapeutic benefits of the wood oil phytoncides.
Forest Bathing is also said to reduce stress, lower blood sugar levels, increase mental concentration and decrease pain. Not bad for a stroll in the woods.
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