Could Forest Bathing be the New Wellness Revolution?

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Wellness stress mental health forest nature
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Every once in a while a new trend comes about in the wellness world.

Yoga. Juicing. Floating.

Those are just a few examples from wildly popular trends of the past few years.

But there could be a new challenger on the horizon!

So what exactly is Forest Bathing and how can it help us achieve a healthier, more balanced life?

While forest bathing is new to the West, the Japanese have been doing it for more than two decades. In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries developed a program that involved incorporating leisurely trips to the wilderness as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

They named the practice Shinrin-Yoku, literally “forest bathing,” and citizens were encouraged to set aside time to visit the woods, and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.

As pointed out in a recent article, spending time in nature can grant us a bounty of health and mental benefits and spending too much time in the city could increase risks of illness or depression.

One of the leading factor for this seems to be linked to the quality of the air we breathe daily, with a majority of people spending as high as 93% of their time indoors, breathing recycled or polluted air.

On the other hand, taking a few deep breaths surrounded by nature could help purify not only our minds, but our bodies as well and enhance our immune system.

When you breathe in that fresh forest air, you inhale phytoncides, chemicals that plants give off to fight pests. Your body responds by upping the number and increasing the activity of natural killer (NK cells), white blood cells that fight off certain diseases and tumors.

So next time you make plans for the weekend, make sure you try and schedule some time surrounded by nature.

For more information on this subject, click here to read the original entry on the Do You Yoga community blog.

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Ben Baker is the communication officer and content editor for the team here at Science of Zen. His interest in personal growth topics range from mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, performance psychology and natural health.