Forests are an incredible resource. They produce oxygen, purify our water and cleanse the air we breathe; the forest is a truly remarkable resource. In Japan two thirds of the country is forest, it is one of the greenest in the world with a rich diversity of tress and is sometimes referred to as the green archipelago.
Forest bathing known as (Shinrin-Yoku) was first created in Japan, 1982 and refers to the healing techniques which restore both the physical and psychological health of the human body, and when especially exposed to a forest environment which activates the senses smell, vision, touch, taste and hearing.
Our modern lifestyle is busier than ever with increasing levels of stress which can lead to low mood and poor sleep. Good quality sleep is essential for our health, well-being and for the functioning of our immune system and forest bathing may be a solution. Li, (2018) research on participants sleep patterns after spending up to 2 hours walking in a forest environment shows an increase in sleep activity, in addition participants were significantly less anxious.
Further, Wen, et al (2019) studies on Asian adult populations and the health effects, used the forest for physical activity to include interventions such as walking, Pilates, yoga and sight-seeing. The data reveals a significant reduction in blood pressure. The present research on emotional states such as depression, fatigue and tension anxiety also showed a decrease in negative emotions and an increase in positive emotions when walking in a forest environment.
It is recommended to incorporate more green exercise into our daily lives, even short bouts of outdoor exercise can have a big impact on our mood, feel less tired and tend to have a longer-lasting energy boost. A brisk walk outdoors is easier than going to the gym or working out on a treadmill, it is both rewarding and more enjoyable.
Li, Q. (2018) Shinrin-Yohu; The art and science of forest-bathing, how trees can help you find health and happiness.
Wen, Y. Yan, D, Pan, Y, Gu, X & Liu, Y (2019) Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-Yoku): A systematic Review