Forest Bathing

November 20, 2011

This weekend I was at a conference on naturopathic medicine and one of the talks was given by a famous naturopathic doctor, Lise Alschuler. She described the idea of “forest bathing” whereby people spend time breathing in  scents from nature (particularly the volatile oils from trees).  She spoke of a study that had been conducted in Japan using two groups of healthy men. The first group was sent to a forest and the second group to a city, both for three days/two nights. Upon returning, they had their blood and urine tested. The group that had been in the forest had higher levels of markers of immune function than the group sent to the city AND these markers remained elevated for seven days after the trip.

What does this mean for you? If you would like to improve the health of your immune system, consider spending at least a few minutes/hours in nature every week (even daily!). Your immune system will be better able to protect you from everything from the common cold to chronic diseases such as cancer.