9 Essential Health Benefits of Forest Bathing with Aromatherapy
Jan 29, 2019
Forest Bathing Found Essential for Health
Modern day “forest bathing” stems from the Japanese ancient tradition known as Shinrin-yoku, which is the practice of spending prolonged periods of time with trees. In 1982, it became part of a national public health program in Japan, where it urged citizens to make use of the country’s 3,000-mile forests for therapy.
The concept is to leisurely visit a wooded area as it is scientifically proven to be highly beneficial for your health. You don’t have to do anything other than simply be with the trees and ‘bathe’ in all the senses.
Indeed, trees really do have healing powers. Trees release antimicrobial essential oils into the surrounding air to protect them from germs, insects, and disease. These are known as phytoncides, which includes the class of compounds called terpenes.
Research found when humans inhale these, it enhances human natural killer (NK) cell activity which can boost the immune system and kill tumor cells. This is why when you’re in a forest or wooded area, the air feels fresh and clean—plants produce these compounds, whereas the man made structures we all inhabit do not.
Forest bathing has been shown to be a powerful antidote against the physical, mental and emotional problems of today. It helps to:
- lower blood pressure
- reduce stress and anxiety
- increase energy
- improve sleep
- elevate mood
- lower cortisol levels
- boost your immune system
- accelerate recovery from illnesses
- improve ability to focus (even in children with ADHD)
How to Use Aromatherapy for Forest Bathing
The olfactory system is largely involved in the principles of forest bathing. According to experts, it is likely that phytoncides exert their effects via the sense of smell, versus the blood-borne path.
From the aspect of physics, it is likely that significant positive shifts are also happening from the absorption via the skin and hair. This opens us up to a wide range of possibilities in helping the body heal and restore balance.
Most essential oil blends are too intense to mimic forest bathing, and in addition your body requires energy from the plants, which comes from flower essences.
If you want to use aromatherapy to simulate a garden or forest experience, the best way is to combine 8 or more essential oils into a very mild mist, and add a minimum of 100 different flower essences. This gives the body similar exposure as a walk in nature does.
Note that in order for a mist to mimic forest bathing, the mist needs to be mild enough that you can consistently mist your face, head, neck and body several times in a row without the aroma being overwhelming. Similar to walking in nature, this method very gently lifts the body (instead of being overwhelming or intense). Repeating this process with a mist several times over a 15 minute window tends to offer greater benefits, again the way spending 15 minutes in nature assists the body's repair mechanisms.
Be aware that the benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and anxiety levels, is due to smelling and absorbing the wide ranging phytoncides produced by plants, versus consuming them.
In short, the incredible benefits from forest bathing are in large part due to inhaling terpenes, which are found in essential oils. But since there are over 50,000 terpenes in nature, it is important to use blends of essential oils that mimic nature, versus just a single scent to gain greater emotional and health benefits.
Forest Bathing and Nature Deficit Disorder
Although not yet listed in medical manuals, Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) is very real and continues to affect many urban dwellers of today. The term was coined by American journalist Richard Louv in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods.” He lamented that the deficit stems from our societal disconnect with nature and results in a wide range of mental and physical problems.
This widespread and rapidly growing disorder puts individuals at high risk of developing attention difficulties, diminished use of the senses, myopia, vitamin D deficiency, obesity, emotional illnesses, and other physical maladies.
NDD is a problem that affects all ages, and is especially a concern for children and young adults in this electronic age. Because of reduced outdoor activities, they often lose their connection with nature.
This disconnect becomes a larger issue because they don’t understand the bodies’ natural need for nature and plants, and how essential it is to fulfill it. They are also more prone to become addicted to technology.
City Dwellers at Greatest Risk
According to the United Nations, 55% of the world’s population is living in urban areas. The numbers are expected to increase to 68% by 2050.
Getting outside and connecting with nature is obviously critical for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Since a majority of our time is spent inside, and with so many people living in cities with pollution, it is critical that we replace the phytoncides and terpenes that are no longer readily available in the air we breathe.
At Kaliana, we make it easy for you to forest bathe, bringing nature into your home or on the go...
Ease emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and trauma, while making your body stronger.
About the Author: Kaliana has been studying natural healing since 1976. She developed her own line of aromatherapy products for emotions in 1995. She is a gifted intuitive, Master Energy Healer, author of 4 books, professional speaker, and offers private consulting for spiritual women and moms.
Kaliana is a certified Phyto-Aromatologist, graduated from Queens University as a Presidential Scholar, sat on the Board for Eating Disorders at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, holds a 4-year Advanced Certification from the Mastery of the Heart School, and teaches certified courses for Continuing Education Hours by NCBTMB.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treat. This information is based on research and knowledge by the author, and the ideas are not intended as substitute for medical advice. As with any products it is suggested that you check with your medical practitioner prior to use. The author disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any products mentioned herein.