A simple stroll through the forest may help you relax, but time spent in the woods deliberately engaging with nature through the five senses can dramatically impact your overall health and well-being. This Japanese practice known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, has been shown to lower cortisol, pulse rate and blood pressure, as well as boost the immune system. Gazing at nature and listening to the sounds of the forest are powerful pieces of the practice, but many of shinrin-yoku’s benefits are believed to come from breathing chemicals called phytoncides emitted by trees and plants. These volatile essential oils contain active components such as limonene that have antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.
What do you do? Simply get yourself to a wooded park or forest and pay attention to sights, smells, sounds and touch of the surrounding nature. And breathe . . .