Forest bathing

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Walking through a bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto

In Japan, a forest bathing trip, called Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) in Japanese and Mandarin, Sanlimyok (산림욕) in Korean, is a short, leisurely visit to a forest.

Activity[edit]

Studies support claims of the benefits of Shinrin Yoku. These have demonstrated that exposure to nature positively creates calming neuro-psychological effects through changes in the nervous system. In addition the level of the hormone serum, adiponectin is also increased. When this hormone is present in low concentrations it is linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome, among other bodily disorders.

Every study so far conducted has demonstrated reductions in, stress, anger, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness amongst the subjects that have participated. In Japan there are now 44 accredited Shinrin Yoku forests.

History[edit]

A forest bathing trip involves visiting a forest for relaxation and recreation while breathing in volatile substances, called phytoncides (wood essential oils), which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds derived from trees, such as a-pinene and limonene. Incorporating forest bathing trips into a good lifestyle was first proposed in 1982 by the Forest Agency of Japan www.rinya.maff.go.jp. It has now become a recognized relaxation and/or stress management activity in Japan.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • [1], The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs provides training and certification for Forest Therapy Guides in the United States and beyond. Their training program is inspired by shinrin-yoku, among other forms of nature-based healing and therapeutic modalities.
  • Shinrin-yoku.org, an initiative in the United States
  • Shinrin Shintai! – Forest Movement, a description of how Shinrin Yoku is applied via Shinrin Shintai

Further reading[edit]

  • Li, Qing; Nakadai, Ari; Matsushima, Hiroki; Miyazaki, Yoshifumi; Krensky, Alan M.; Kawada, Tomoyuki; Morimoto, Kanehisa (2006). "Phytoncides (Wood Essential Oils) Induce Human Natural Killer Cell Activity". Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 28 (2): 319–33. doi:10.1080/08923970600809439. PMID 16873099. 
  • Li, Q; Morimoto, K; Nakadai, A; Inagaki, H; Katsumata, M; Shimizu, T; Hirata, Y; Hirata, K; Suzuki, H (2007). "Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins". International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 20 (2 Suppl 2): 3–8. PMID 17903349. 
  • Li, Q; Morimoto, K; Kobayashi, M; Inagaki, H; Katsumata, M; Hirata, Y; Hirata, K; Suzuki, H; Li, YJ (2008). "Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins". International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 21 (1): 117–27. PMID 18336737. 
  • Li, Q; Morimoto, K; Kobayashi, M; Inagaki, H; Katsumata, M; Hirata, Y; Hirata, K; Shimizu, T; Li, YJ (2008). "A forest bathing trip increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins in female subjects". Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 22 (1): 45–55. PMID 18394317. 
  • Li, Qing (2009). "Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function". Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 15 (1): 9–17. doi:10.1007/s12199-008-0068-3. PMC 2793341. PMID 19568839. 
  • Li, Q; Kobayashi, M; Wakayama, Y; Inagaki, H; Katsumata, M; Hirata, Y; Hirata, K; Shimizu, T; Kawada, T (2009). "Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function". International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 22 (4): 951–9. PMID 20074458. 
  • Park, Bum Jin; Yuko Tsunetsugu; Tamami Kasetani; Takahide Kagawa; Yoshifumi Miyazaki (2 May 2010). "The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan". Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 15 (1): 18–26. doi:10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9. PMC 2793346. PMID 19568835.