While ‘forest bathing’ has long been heralded in Japanese culture for its immune-boosting powers, new studies show that it also has an effect on our stress levels too.
Terpenes (aka the bioactive substance released by plants) in forest air have been found to have anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting and neuroprotective properties, which essentially heal our bodies and lower levels of cortisole with every breath we inhale.
Researchers from Chiba University compared nearly 300 college-age students after they took a series of walks lasting two hours or more: one in a city and the other in a forest.
The students were found to have significantly less stress hormone in their system, slower pulse rates and lower blood pressure after they took forest baths than on the days when they’d exercised in urban areas.
Similarly, in a larger study out of Kyoto University, participants scored lower on ratings for hostility and depression after spending time in the woods compared to when they hadn’t.
But according to some experts, you might not even need to venture outdoors to feel all the good vibes from forest bathing.
Research conducted by Texas A&M concluded that “environments with nature-related imagery, such as photographs and paintings on the wall, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and reduce pain.
Yup, that dreamy Rocky Mountain screensaver is practically fast-tracking your way to zen.