Healing Body and Soul Through the Japanese Art of Shinrin Yoku

http://wakeup-world.com/2015/03/18/healing-body-and-soul-through-the-japanese-art-of-shinrin-yoku/?_nospa=true

“Feeling frazzled, depressed or less than healthy? Japanese researchers have discovered that ditching civilization for a few hours can be just what the doctor ordered. Known as shinrin yoku or, more commonly, forest bathing, the practice involves spending time in nature coupled with mindfulness. This simple method has been shown to dramatically reduce health complaints — and can even lower the risk of cancer.

[S]hinrin yoku is about immersing our senses in the beauty of nature for therapeutic value. The practice was first introduced by the Forest Agency of Japan in 1982 to help reduce stress and encourage relaxation. What wasn’t known at the time, however, was that forest bathing would lead to significant health benefits. Numerous studies have found that spending time mindfully in nature not only soothes the body and mind, but also offers a substantial boost in natural killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells are responsible for keeping cancer cells in check and are a vital component of the immune system… [T]he increase in NK cell activity is attributed to breathing air infused with the essential oils of trees called phytonicides. These compounds protect trees from disease, insects and fungus — while also helping to boost immunity in people…

The principles behind shinrin yoku are quite straightforward. Basics include carrying adequate water and food, dressing appropriately for the weather and resting often. One of the main points to keep in mind is that this isn’t a hiking marathon, but rather a gentle stroll through the forest. Silence is also helpful in maintaining a sense of mindfulness. And Shinrin Yoku.org reminds us to breath, relax, wander, touch and listen so that we can fully embrace the practice.”

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