Japanese researchers set out to study the changes on the body when spending time in nature. “Forest Bathing” or shinrin-yoku was proved to have beneficial, measurable changes when spending 40 minutes walking in nature. One study at Chiba University in Japan found that people had lower levels of cortisol, which involves blood pressure and immune system function.
Another researcher, Dr. Qing Li, a professor at the Nippon Medical Center in Tokoyo found that trees emit aromatic compounds, called phytocides, similar to aromatherapy,that spur healthy biological changes. Li has shown that when people walk or stay overnight in forests, their changes in blood are associated with protection against cancer, immunity and lower blood pressure.
Even Youtube is promoting nature in a short parody clip touting “Prescription strength nature: a non-harmful medication shown to relieve the crippling symptoms of modern life”. The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf5TgVRGND4.
To back up studies in Japan, a June 2016 study found that 10% of people with high blood pressure could get their hypertension under control if they spend 30 minutes or more in a park each week. “If everyone were to make time for nature, the savings on health care costs could be incredible”, says study author Danielle Shanahan, a research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia.
The next time you tell someone to “take a hike”, remember to add “it’s good for you.”