Regular readers of my emails and retreat descriptions know that I’ve written about the healing properties of forests before. But I thought the topic was worth a revisit—especially as we heal and recover from the events of the past year.
Trees release polyphenols to protect themselves from insects and to fight disease. And these polyphenols can also help humans fight disease by contributing to the increase of white blood cells that kill tumor- and virus-infected cells.
Research by Japanese scientists reveals that spending time in nature, also known as “forest bathing” (shinrin-yoku), can increase the activity of these so-called natural killer cells, while also reducing the stress hormone cortisol and spurring the body’s self-healing parasympathetic nervous system. And the best part is that these benefits can last for more than 30 days.