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Forest Bathing – Who Knew??

Rebecca Bennington Blog Picture

Forest Bathing… Who Knew?

By Rebecca Bennington


When I talk about the need to “make connections” in order to be happy, I am not always referring to connecting to other people. There are many ways we can connect.  For this article, let’s consider our connection to our environment.

Have you heard of forest bathing?  I had not, until today.  This term was created in the 1980s by the Japanese to describe the psychological and physiological experience of spending meditative time in the forest.  Scientists discovered that breathing in the aromatic oils from trees, called phytoncides, can give you an immunity boost that lasts for weeks. It can also lower blood pressure and help with depression.  It can reduce stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and reduce the ‘fight or flight’ response.

You will need a location where you are surrounded by trees.  A deep forest is preferable to a city park, as a 2022 study found that walking in a forest had a greater impact on cardiovascular health than a city park jaunt.  If you do not have access to the forest then a city park or other treed area will suffice but the effects may be reduced.

Also, the longer the time spent bathing, the greater the health benefits.  One study showed that participants who walked in the forest for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon saw an increase in anti-cancer proteins and immune cells that kill tumors, with the effects lasting for at least seven days after.  But, some is better than none, so any time spent can be beneficial.

So, grab your trekking poles and take a hike!  Breathe deep.  Practice mindfulness.  The slow, intentional intake of the forest air can improve your health, mind, and soul.  Relax and enjoy this unique experience.

(These are the trekking poles I use, and they are everything I need):  https://amzn.to/3zxvPuD

To learn more about this practice you can read the researcher’s book, Forest Bathing:  How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li.  Buy it on Amazon here:  https://amzn.to/4eKsiJD


Happy Bathing!


Rebecca Bennington


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