Forest bathing in Japan

It isn’t surprising that forest bathing – spending time in a forest or other green space – is good for you.

Forest bathing or Shinrin yoku is becoming very popular in some countries. Countries such as Japan, in particular, take this practice very seriously.

But more than just hokem or new-age hippy-ness, there is growing scientific evidence to back up why spending time in green spaces is good for our health.

A recent analysis in the scientific journal, Environmental Research, drew on data from multiple previous studies. The combined studies tracked a total of 290 million participants from 20 different countries. The study suggested a correlation between spending time in green spaces and several health benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of Type II diabetes

Above all, the participants were also more likely to describe their own health as “good”.

Why is forest bathing is good for our health?

There are many contributing factors to why spending time in green spaces is good for us. They include:

  • Promotes physical activity
  • Social interaction
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Improved air quality

Other theories include an increased exposure to the microorganisms can strengthen the immune system. But also that particular chemicals emitted by trees may actually affect our health in different ways. Some compounds have anti-bacterial properties whilst others may actually increase the activity of our immune system.

Forest bathing as a therapy

“Green prescriptions” have been given to people with various ailments since the Victorian age. And the connection between greenery and health contributed to town planning and the addition of so many parks during the 19th century.

The NHS provides advice to their GPs on the physical and mental benefits of visiting green places. The NHS states that 6-8 months after receiving a green prescription, 63% of patients are more active and 46% have lost weight. Encouraging physical activity outside in good quality green spaces is, therefore, a valuable tool in disease prevention.

Forest Bathing and Biophilic Design

Of course, the principles behind forest bathing and biophilic design are the same. We are innately connected to nature and benefit from being close to natural things such as water and plants. Biophilic design takes these principles and incorporates them into our urban and interior spaces.

How can I incorporate forest bathing into my lifestyle?

You may already be subconsciously seeking out nature for relaxation. Going for a walk is an obvious idea but for many people living urban lives, access to good quality green spaces may be difficult. So if you’re in a pinch what can you do? Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to nature’s sounds, such as birdsong and running water, to help de-stress and relax.
  • Make sure you have greenery in the form of indoor plants or even artwork depicting natural scenes.
  • Make time at the weekend to visit a green space such as a local park or a garden that’s open to the public.

At Floresy, we understand the importance of greenery in our home and work environments. If you want to increase the greenery in your space, without increasing your water consumption or the time it takes to maintain your plants, our artificial products are here to support your needs. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

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