I have always been a huge advocate of trees! There is a certain magic about them. Trees factor strongly in my landscape paintings, and a walk among them never fails to nourish me. I return to my workaday routine feeling lighter in spirit, but somehow also physically energized. It’s as though I’ve swallowed an elixir! Well, I just discovered lately that I have been inadvertently absorbing the healing benefits of “forest bathing”.
The Japanese love trees
The Japanese avidly practice forest bathing. You heard it right! Bathing in trees. Spending time around them and soaking up all their great energy. Major studies and experiments have been conducted in Japan to measure the positive effects of trees on humans. The results astound in terms of physical and emotional health. The benefits include improved immune system, lower pulse rate and blood pressure, and reduced incidence of depression. Have I piqued your interest? To find out more, go to this Quartz blog post: The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is scientifically proven to improve your health.
After you read it, you may just become the next tree bathing convert!
And lest you think this is just some weird Asian ‘flash in the pan’ fad, I’m here to tell you, no it is not. In 1982, forest bathing integrated into the national health program in Japan and the studies quoted on health benefits go back as far as 2004. Tree bathing is lately being embraced in our Western culture as an antidote to stress.
The West embraces the healing benefits of forest bathing
A brief excerpt from the Quartz article:
“Julia Plevin, a product designer and urban forest bather, founded San Francisco’s 200-member Forest Bathing Club Meetup in 2014. They gather monthly to escape technology. “It’s an immersive experience,” Plevin explained to Quartz. “So much of our lives are spent interacting with 2D screens. This is such a bummer because there’s a whole 3D world out there! Forest bathing is a break from your phone and computer…from all that noise of social media and email.”
As far as I know, no one has figured out how to bottle this yet. (And I hope they never do.) So, scout around for some trees in your neighborhood real soon, and let them work their magic on you. Happy bathing!
Benefits of Forest Bathing © Susan L Hart 2019
Photo courtesy Luis del Rio, Pexels