Forest Bathing

We often hear about the restorative power of encounters with nature. Well, here is an interesting article about one (very unlikely) city that is harnessing that power to revitalize itself.

At the heart of the article you'll encounter two paragraphs that really caught my attention. I am always up for a forest bath! You?


Biophilia remains in each of us, expressed in traits like preference for waterfront property or an apartment with a view of a park. More to the point, though, Wilson’s hypothesis says that satisfying these desires makes us physically and emotionally healthier. The hypothesis has been tested not just in labs but in offices, hospitals, schools, slums, and suburbs; in Korea, throughout Europe, in the United States, and especially in Japan.

An attachment to nature is embedded in Japanese culture, expressed in a formal movement known as shinrin-yoku, which translates roughly as “forest bathing.” The Japanese are fond of walks in the woods and believe these deliver real benefits, which is a demonstrable assertion. For instance, one set of experiments involving Japanese businessmen looked at the strength of immune system response and the body’s production of a weapon called “natural killer cells,” or NK cells. Walking in the woods showed a significant and enduring increase in these cells, which seek and destroy invaders.