Exposure to forests boosts our immune system. In nature, we breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals released by plants to protect themselves from disease and insects. Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Breathing in these chemicals increases the number and activity of a white blood cell type known as natural killer cells. NK cells are reported to kill tumor and virus infected cells in our bodies.
Spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. Studies show that spending time in forests reduces blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Researchers found that forest bathing trips significantly decreased anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue. And because stress inhibits the immune system, the stress-reduction benefits of forests are further magnified.
Spending time in nature helps us focus. Spending time in nature gives the cognitive portion of our brain a break, allowing us to focus better and renew better perspective.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
© GMB ~ Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Genvièv Martin-Bernard is a Board Certified Forensic and Clinical Hypnosis Practitioner who consults locally, nationally and internationally. A published author, she serves as President of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association and is Board Certified and a Certified Instructor with the National Guild of Hypnotists.