Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing

Interesting article printed in the New York Times on July 5, 2010. Seems the Japanese did a study of involving 280 healthy people who were instructed to walk 2 hours in a nature park or forest and another group walked 2 hours in the city. On the 2nd day, the groups traded places. What researchers found was that the group that walked in the forest or nature park showed a lower concentration of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure and basic increase in immune function. A hike in the forest also increase white blood cells. This increase in white blood cells in women lasted for over 7 days! This Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing has become very popular in Japan.

This just proves what I have been saying all along...we need to spend more time in the woods and nature! I just finished reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It is a very interesting book on the "nature deficit disorder in our children. Louv's thesis is that the health of our children and the health of the Earth are bound together. Louv's highlighted quote from his research is from a 4th grader from San Diego that said "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." Louv's goal now is "no child left inside"

I am very fortunate to live within walking distance of the Knobstone Trail located in south central Indiana. Just being out in the woods in the early morning...(before the bugs) is a great way to start your day, get some exercise..and it looks like a great way to restart your health and reduce stress. Scientist say the phytoncides which are the airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from rotting and insects also have been shown to benefit humans.

All 3 pictures are from the Knobstone trail which is a primitive hiking/camping trail especially maintain for hikers only.

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