The benefits of being in nature have been “known” on an individual level by many people, some only recently and some for their whole lives. Now, the research is emerging to “prove” what many have already known and felt. We feel good when we are in nature. And, we continue to feel good afterward because the beneficial effects remain with us after our experience in nature.
For me, I can experience the awe of nature in the dense lushness and solitude of the Olympic National Forest or in the chaos of sitting in traffic and the glowing aura of Mt. Rainier catches my eye. Both experiences warm my heart and remind me to exhale. Those two results push aside whatever stress response I might be experiencing at that moment. The more opportunities I experience like that, the more relaxed and more resilient I feel.
NPR shared a story about forest bathing and another about Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), which is the loss we feel when we have become disconnect from nature. Richard Louv wrote Last Child in the Woods and also The Nature Principle and Vitamin N. These books are a great resources highlighting the importance of being in nature. Dr. Oz featured forest bathing and even WebMD has highlighted the benefits of forest bathing.
Here are a few additional research articles supporting what many have already known.
The Physiological Effects of Shinrin-Yoku in 24 Forests in Japan
Forest Bathing for Stress Reduction
Forest Bathing for Decreasing Blood Pressure
Forest Medicine Research in Japan
Dr. Qing Li as been leading the research on forest bathing. He wrote the book Forest Bathing and was also involved in the research on Nature Therapy as Preventative Medicine, Forest Bathing and Immune Function and on Forest Cover and Mortality. Dr. Li is featured in this great video about forest bathing in Japan.
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