forest-bathing (present participle of the verb forest-bathe): taking in the forest athmosphere — also known as Shinrin-yoku (Japanese) — as a physiologically proven means of relieving stress and achieving relaxation
File this under “I shoulda been a scientist.”
A group of kick-ass Japanese researchers have spent nearly a decade proving the physiological benefits of time spent in the woods, accounting for variables such as “the odor of wood, the sound of running stream water, and the scenery of the forest.” Data so far is lookin’ good. From one published report: “The results show that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.”
It is suspected that the tree oils known as phytoncides might actually help boost our immune systems. Sure, they’re highly poisonous in concentrated doses, but deep-breathing them in may be just the hit we need to stay healthy. And while Le Labo Cedre 11 may come close, nothing quite does the trick like time spent under a real forest canopy.
A hike a day keeps the doctor away? Don’t mind if I do self-medicate …