I recently read an interesting article from the “Grateful News” (part of a regular Newsletter published by www.gratefullness.org) about the beneficial affects of being around trees and/or spending time outside in nature. It was perfect timing, as I have been experiencing a healing of sorts every time I go to visit my horse Remington.
The Farm where he lives is quite remote, miles away from the hustle and stress of the city, and is surrounded by trees, mountains, wildlife, pastures and beauty. To my surprise, this article explains that one of the reasons I may feel so peaceful as I sit under one of the massive oak trees and eat my lunch while Remy’s small herd of three stands around me, is because oak trees are one of several trees which emit allelochemic substances called “phytoncides”. These chemicals help the trees ward of insects and slow the growth of fungi and bacteria.
But here’s the “Forest bathing” part: (translated from the Japanese term “Shinrin-yoku”). When humans are exposed to these chemicals, it’s been scientifically proven that blood pressure lowers, stress is relieved and the growth of cancer-fighting white blood cells is boosted!
Nature is our mother, in more ways than one. When we take the time to reunite with her, spending time outside, reveling in the beauty, peace, harmony and wonder that is her, our very cells are affected. And so is our spirit. We are reminded on deep, subconscious levels that we are part of a larger whole, that in essence we are Nature. Experiences like “Forest Bathing” bring us back to center, healing us on many, many levels; helping us to come home to who we really are.