Sometimes when you’re feeling under the gun there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to make you feel better. Turns out there could be a scientific explanation for that.
“Simply by smelling or touching pieces of pine, oak or Japanese cypress wood,” said the author, Professor Yoshifumi Miyazaki, “subjects experienced a calming of prefrontal brain activity, a reduction in sympathetic nerve activity and a rise in parasympathetic nerve activity – all of which amounts to a reduction in stress.”
Professor Miyazaki has been investigating the practice, known as shinrin-yoku in Japanese, since 1992 and has had consistent positive results since then. “Results have shown that subjects experienced lower blood pressure, increases in parasympathetic nerve activity (known to increase during relaxation) and a calming of prefrontal brain activity,” Professor Miyazaki said.
Thankfully you don’t have to travel to Japan to get those results, as shinrin-yoku can be practiced anywhere, anytime. To start try switching off your phone and heading to your nearest bush land for a stroll. Professor Miyazaki recommends keeping a gentle pace for at least two hours to gain maximum benefits.
He advises focusing on being present in your surrounding environment by focusing on sounds, smells and temperatures. Also pay attention to your body as you move through the space and try to release any tension that you may be holding onto. Let the trees heal you.
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