For ye shall go out with joy, And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills shall
break forth before you into singing, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12, JPS Tanakh 1917
Have you ever walked into a forest and felt bathed in peace?
It’s not your imagination. It’s real.
The Japanese have a phrase for taking in the healing properties of the woods: shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.”
Studies “show that forest environments could lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, increase parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity compared with city settings.”
Dr. Johanna Budwig, a biochemist, wrote that walking through a forest can recharge our batteries.
Even simply looking out a window at green plants is healing. Post-surgical patients who could look out on trees and grass got out of the hospital sooner, had fewer complications, and took fewer pain medications than those without such views.
Other benefits include
- Improved sleep and mood
- Increased energy levels and ability to focus
- Decreased anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, and fatigue.
In other words, it’s not just relaxing to be in a forest. It’s healing, and here’s why: you are literally being showered with essential oils that prevent the growth of attacking organisms.
Plants are busy sending out chemical signals called phytoncides that ward off insects and help fight bacterial and fungal disease. When we breathe in these phytoncides, our bodies’ immune systems create more natural killer white blood cells that go after tumors and viruses.
So maybe take your next “bath” among trees and imagine they are clapping their hands, showering their joy and healing balm upon you.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Find ways to get out into the woods, or at least get a view of plant life, as much as possible.
Budwig, Johanna. Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases. Apple Publishing; 3rd edition (December 1, 1994), p. 50.
Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 224:420-422.