A forest provides humans with a place to find calm and serenity. However most people do not live in close proximity or have access to a natural forest. Research shows public parks are the next best thing for the ancient Japanese practice of forest bathing.

The Japanese pursuit of shinrin-yoku uses trees and nature to heal oneself – here’s how you can do it even in a park. Japanese “forest medicine” is the science of using nature to heal oneself of all that ails. In the 1980s, researchers in Japan started extolling the science behind the benefits of being outdoors. And in 1982, the Japanese government introduced the concept of shinrin yoku, or “forest bathing,” urging people to make use of the country’s generous wooded areas for therapy. In the following decades the benefits of spending time amongst the trees have been confirmed over and over. One comprehensive review just concluded that spending time in greenspace "reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure, among other benefits." (See more here: Vast new study confirms significant health benefits of nature .) Which is all fine and good if you happen to live next to the woods. But what about the rest of us – the city mice who may be in need of some forest medicine the most? Enter physician Qing Li, chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine and author […]

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