Want to maintain good health? Get out of the city and into a forest at least once a month. A growing body of research done in Japan shows that being in green spaces boosts our immune system.
Being in the forest seems to have two benefits: one is obvious — stress reduction. And the other is perhaps less so: trees emit chemicals called phytoncides that benefit humans.
Japanese researchers conducted a study of 280 healthy people, who were given a day off. Some went to the big city and others went to a forest area for what the Japanese call “forest bathing.”
The forest bathers had lower pulses and lower blood pressure. Another study showed forest bathers experienced an increase in their natural killer cells, the cells that help fight cancer.
“Forest bathing trips may have a preventive effect on cancer generation and development,” reports Prof. Qing Li, president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine.
The positive health effects of a trip to the forest can last as long as a month.