Healthy Living

Does Forest Bathing Really Help Reduce Stress?

Throughout the last few years, walking in forests, as well as spending time in it, has become the newest wellness trend. Often referred to as “forest bathing,” a new meta-analysis investigated whether breathing in the forest air and trudging through it on an afternoon can really help bring about positive changes in our body.

A trend that most likely originated in Japan (due to its lush forest and the country’s general culture of being one with nature), the term “forest bathing” is a direct translation of the Japanese term “shinrin yoku.”

Of course, the idea of walking in the forest is not new, since it’s always been enjoyed as a nice little activity for thousands of generations. However, it’s only back in 1982 when the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries first coined a term for it.

According to experts, the term refers to more than walking through forest and nature because people are expected to be “making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest.” Furthermore, experts also say that the primary benefit of forest bathing is a significant reduction in stress levels, as well as an increase in our positive outlook in life.

Others, however, tend to go further than this. For example, a review back in 2017 revealed that forest bathing (referred in the study as forest therapy) is an effective way of decreasing the depression levels of adults. There are also some researchers who believe it can help in some way with lung and heart disease. There’s also emerging studies claiming that just being around nature in general can help improve our mental well-being.

Of course, it’s clear that scientists need to conduct more research on forest bathing if they are to formally prescribe it to patients as a way to relieve stress and reduce depressive feelings. However, since the placebo effect of believing being one with nature has helped numerous people, then we’re sure a nice little stroll through the countryside or a quick forest walk will benefit your attitude and mental state greatly after a long stressful day at work.