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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Olczak

Benefits of Forest Bathing on Human Health

Updated: May 14, 2020

We live in a society that is very nature deprived. With more people moving to the city, working in high rises, and addicted to electronic devices, we are suffering from serious nature deficiency. According to the United Nations Population Division, by 2050 three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. Your average American spends 93% of their time indoors.

Japanese doctor, Qing Li, has written a book called, Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. He also created an organization called The Japanese Society of Forest Medicine. They research the therapeutic effects of the forest on human health.

What is forest bathing? Forest bathing is one of the most simple and effective things you can do for your health. It is simply walking, or even just being in a forest surrounded by trees. Some of us do not live near forests, and that’s fine. Parks will do. The point is to get outside in nature.

Forest bathing has helped people dealing with sleep issues and anxiety. A study called Effect of Forest Bathing Trips on Human Immune Function done in 2009 states that forest bathing trips increased NK (Natural Killer) cell activity, which helps fight off infections and cancer.

According to Li, the healing medicine of trees lies in two things: higher concentration of oxygen, and phytoncides. As humans and animals breathe in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide, plants utilize carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. The more oxygen you breathe in, the more oxygen you supply your body, brain, and organs with. Phytoncides are plant chemicals that are natural oils that are a part of a plants defense system. Forest are rich in oxygen when compared to a city. As for phytoncides, many are found in forest air, but are basically absent from city air.

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