The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ has been scientifically proven to be good for you, with some specific effects between essential oils and human physiology being highlighted for the first time.
Started as a national public health program in Japan in 1982, forest bathing encourages citizens to immerse themselves in forests for the benefit of their health. The psychological effects of natural landscapes and green spaces has long been known, but the physical evidence is showing exactly how and why.
Phytoncide is an organic compound manufactured by many plants as a defence mechanism again insect attack and disease infection. Japanese studies have shown that spending time around trees that emit these compounds increases human natural killer (NK) cell activity in the immune system. Pines, oaks and eucalyptus trees, among many others, are known to emit these compounds.
Perhaps the most exciting news is that just being amongst trees has an effect that can last up to a month. No need to hike kilometres through the wilderness to get the benefits of phytoncide to your immune system.
Picnicking in a forest once a month sounds like a great preventative health care practice to make a habit of!