Health Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku

Shinrin-Yoku is considered standard preventative care in many countries around the world. Studies have shown that visiting a forest has real, quantifiable, physical and mental health benefits.

These benefits are derived from the essential oils given off by trees and plants into the forest atmosphere. These oils are called phytoncides and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

The phytoncides not only protect the trees from harmful germs and insects, they also protect humans. Studies have shown that these oils can boost immune system functions, fight disease and reduce stress –  the effects can last for more than 30 days.

Stress Reduction

Extensive research has proven that phytoncides increase the Natural Killer (NK) cells in the body. These are white blood cells that bind to tumor cells and virus-infected cells and kill them. Increased NK cells increase your body’s immune system.

Under stress the body releases the hormone cortisol which dampens the immune system and makes us prone to heart and metabolic diseases. Studies have shown a decrease in the level of cortisol after a walk in the forest.

Boost Immune System

Phytoncides increase the balance between the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) that lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

Studies conducted after a forest bathing walk have also shown a decrease on scores for anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue and an increase in scores for short term memory attention and problem solving.


For more scientific research please visit the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.


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