Forest Bathing boosts the immune system claims Japanese study

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is being in the presence of trees and became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982. The Japanese have spent millions of dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing.

When we breathe fresh air, we inhale phytoncides (airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from insects). Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities, which help plants fight disease. Our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK. These cells kill tumour and virus-infected cells in our bodies. In one study, increased NK activity from a three day, two-night forest bathing trip lasted for more than 30 days. As a result of the research findings, the Japanese have created 48 therapy trails. Japanese researchers are currently exploring whether exposure to forests can help prevent certain kinds of cancer.

The practice originated in Japanwhere it is called shinrin-yoku (森林浴) in Japanese. It is also called sēnlínyù (森林浴) in Mandarin and sanlimyok (산림욕) in Korean.

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