Thursday, January 24, 2013

Forest Bathing

Not just a walk in the woods.

Globe and Mail, October 8, 2010
"The Japanese, who have been at this sort of thing a lot longer, call the experience of stress reduction in natural surroundings "forest bathing," or shinrin-yoku. I read in a news report that "Japanese scientists have discovered that the scent of trees, the sound of brooks and the feel of sunshine … can have a calming effect …" It takes funded research to discover the glaringly obvious? True, there is further evidence that essential wood oils called phytoncides, which are natural preservatives and fungicides emitted by many plants, can actually increase natural killer cells in humans, thus enhancing the immune system. I don't know whether this is in any sense true, but it doesn't really matter, and if they want to call it "forest bathing" why should we quibble? It may be not so much that forests are healthy, but that cities are not.
You can "forest-bathe" pretty well anywhere there are trees, even in urban parks."
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