|American Lady butterfly against a cloud-filled sky (Wikipedia)|
Fights Off Allergy Symptoms
Tom Ogren, author of The Allergy Fighting Garden, says most allergy sufferers don’t have to worry too much when they are truly in nature. He says, “In nature, things are much more in balance, certainly the trees and shrubs are in a gender balance, and there is usually around one female tree for every male tree in the wild. This horticultural balance keeps the air cleaner, is better for everyone, especially anyone with allergies or asthma.” For those with allergies, a walk in the forest can actually boost your own immunity and improve your allergic reactions as you get more exposure to nature. Dr. Shin says, “Patients with pediatric asthma or atopic dermatitis obtained relief from their symptoms after undergoing a forest healing program.” If you’re looking for respite from allergies, stop leafing through pages of air purifier reviews, and just get outside!
Helps Your Body Fight Cancer Cells
Just the scent of trees can assist your body in fighting cancer cells, according to a 2009 study. One of the biggest benefits of forest-bathing comes from a compound called phytoncide, which is derived from trees and plants and is breathed in by humans during forest therapy. It is this phytoncide exposure that helps our bodies, explains Dr. Shin, by increasing our levels of a particular brand of disease-fighting white blood cells. “The forest environment can boost the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells, which may facilitate recovery from cancer. Actually, the forest healing program was found to facilitate the recovery of breast cancer patients.”
Our bodies were meant to live in nature, and it is nature itself that is our healer. Step away from the screen and make it a date: you and the forest. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.