Green spaces massage the body and brain, says Japanese research

By on May 21, 2017

Nature bathing is a national pastime for Japanese people. It is easy to understand why. The air outside the city just feel fresher and better.

Another reason is they know something most of us don’t.

The Japanese have good reason to think people who have easy access to nature tend to be healthier. Evidence is mounting that being around natural environments actually reduces depression or negative emotions.

Japan knows. It pioneered a research on forest therapy trails claiming exposure to green space, even within urban environments, increases our physical and mental well-being.

This research has identified three major inhaled factors that can make us feel healthier: beneficial bacteria, plant-derived essential oils and negatively-charged ions.

photos by Anna Remenets    Akao & Herb Rose Garden in Atami City

 

Bacteria, essential oils and negative ions interact and influence each other. For example, negative ions and phytoncides from trees may dictate the microbial make-up within a natural environment. There is evidence that this could also be taking place in the human gut.

Nature bathing has a direct link on mental well-being, says psychologists. There is increasing evidence too that we can help shape our children’s mental and physical health by making it a routine to expose them to more green environments as they work, rest and play.

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