Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity. – John Muir
In Chapter 6 of Onward, Elena Aguilar shares many ways that we can take care of ourselves. She shares research on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku which translates to forest bathing and is considered a form of preventative health care and healing. Following is what scientific studies have found about the benefits of forest bathing:
- Many trees give off organic compounds that support natural killer cells that boost our immune system and help fight cancer.
- Many plants also give off substances called phytoncides, which are antimicrobial organizers compounds. Breathing these substances promotes relaxation.
- Being in the forest lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.
- Forest bathing improves mood, energy, sleep, and the ability to focus.
In this NPR article Forest Bathing: A Retreat To Nature Can Boost Immunity And Mood, the author shares her first-hand account of what forest bathing is and what the experience is like. Hopefully now you are inspired to go to a forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses. That’s it.