A study conducted across 24 forests in Japan found that when people strolled in a wooded area, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol plummeted almost 16 percent more than when they walked in an urban environment. And the effects were quickly apparent: Subjects’ blood pressure showed improvement after about 15 minutes of the practice. But one of the biggest benefits may come from breathing in chemicals called phytoncides, emitted by trees and plants. Women who logged two to four hours in a forest on two consecutive days saw a nearly 40 percent surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to one study. “Phytoncide exposure reduces stress hormones, indirectly increasing the immune system’s ability to kill tumor cells,” says Tokyo-based researcher Qing Li, MD, PhD, who has studied shinrin-yoku.
This Huffington Post Article doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. I think we all know how good being in nature is for us but the scientific research is a good reminder of the necessity to plunge into nature as often as possible. Too, remembering that I’m not just going for a walk I’m practicing Shinrin-Yoku .. being there with awareness, is probably going to add something beyond pretentiousness.