Japanese researchers measured the physiological changes when people walked through wooded areas across 24 forests in Japan and what they found was amazing: “levels of the stress hormone cortisol plummeted almost 16 percent more than when they walked in an urban environment… Subjects’ blood pressure showed improvement after about 15 minutes of the practice.”
But, here’s where is gets really interesting: “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,’ what the Japanese call “forest bathing.”
Even if you don’t live near a forest, studies suggest that just LOOKING (my emphasis) at green space — say, the trees outside your office window — helps reduce muscle tension and blood pressure.
Here’s a little video to get you started (try to ignore the fact that one young women in the video is holding an iPhone, lol…)
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