When the Forest Bathes You

Junqueby Francisco G. Gómez

If you believe I’m talking about being rained on or swimming in a natural pool under a waterfall in the forest, you’re quite wrong. That’s only part of it.

I’ve heard it called Friluftsliv in Norway or Shinrin-Yoku in Japan, but it’s nothing more than strolling through the woods and taking in all that Mother Nature has to offer.

The bath that is experienced by anyone who has had the good fortune to touch, taste and sense it is what the forest is made of: trees, leaves, flowers, shrubs and a whole host of other foliage that is life or Pachamama. But,  it goes deeper than that; if you’ve never heard the word Phytoncides, I’m sure you’ve felt them while walking through the veins of God.

Phytoncides means “exterminated by the plant”;  it was first coined in 1928 by Dr. Boris P. Tokin, a Russian biochemist from Leningrad University. Phytoncides are allelo-chemical compounds  that emanate from much of the vegetation and trees found in nature. They are produced by the latter in order to battle annoying bugs and microorganisms that sometimes create deterioration and disease in the foliage and wood.

However, when the same are encountered by humans, the effects of Phytoncides are beneficial and have healing properties;  they lower stress, augment cancer fighting cells, decrease blood pressure and more.  Exposure to these compounds can last up to seven days – not a bad added pay off for a stroll through the woods!

For more on Phytoncides, check out this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20074458

 

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