Why a walk in the woods really does help your body and your soul

The Guardian of Forever?

Have you ever wondered why you feel healthier and happier when you stroll through the trees or frolic by the sea? Is it just that you’re spending time away from work, de-stressing and taking in the view? Or is there more to it?

For more than 20 years, scientists have been trying to determine the mechanisms by which exposure to biodiversity improves health. Japanese scientists pioneered the search when they travelled to the island of Yakushima, famous for its biodiversity.

The Japanese already had a name for the experience of well-being in nature: shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”.

We do know that a diverse ecosystem supports a varied and beneficial microbial community living around and inside us.

We also know that exposure to green space, even within urban environments, increases our physical and mental well-being. But what are the mechanisms?

The forest air

The Japanese researchers suggested that we are taking in beneficial substances when we breathe forest air.

Research has identified three major inhaled factors that can make us feel healthier. These factors are beneficial bacteria, plant-derived essential oils and negatively-charged ions.




2 thoughts on “Why a walk in the woods really does help your body and your soul

  1. Yes, indeed this is true. When I lived on the river side of my street, I would walk in the woods by the river on a daily basis. Now that I moved down the street and away from the woods and I got a full time job, my health stinks. yuk!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yea, the trees are one of the reasons I originally moved to Sacramento (City of Trees), and then obviously why I moved up to the High Sierras. It must be something in my DNA, or from my ancestors, or something. One thing I can think of, is my Great Grandfather on my Mom’s side immigrated to the US from the Champagne region on edge of the Ardenne Forest in France.

    Thanks for reading Mary 🙂


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