Emerging from the cold winter leaves us all craving the outdoors. I remember as a child living across the street from a massive wooded area that I continuously hounded my dad to take me for walks and play time outside. Minnesota is chock full of beautiful wooded areas! It’s no secret that once we enter the outdoors, our perspective on life can change, our mental clarity is renewed and our zest for life is regenerated! Is it just by chance, or is it actual therapy? With summer just around the corner, it’s time to get a clear understanding of how truly beneficial spending time outdoors can be, especially in the forest.
Let’s take a look at how serious Forest Therapy is in China, and follow their lead.
The focus of Forest Therapy is to provide preventive medical effects by relieving stress and recovering the immune system. Those who practice this method of therapy lower the level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone in the body, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure, heart rate and can boost the immune system. Testing is being conducted regularly along path ways in Forest Therapy to find support for the health benefits of it. In Japan, there are several Forest Preserves that are designated for Forest Therapy. They have a total of forty eight official Forest Therapy Trails. In the US, we have zero official trails! It is a new concept for us, even though we find how much better we feel by getting out into nature. We must catch up with the rest of the world and take charge of our health. We must think outside the box and learn as we observe others. Along many of the paths are centers for learning stress relief, among many other topics, to promote good health and relaxation.
In other parts of the world, holistic, preventative care take a strong lead over conventional health care methods. We have to jump on board if we ever hope to shift to superior health, longevity and clearness and clarity of mind!
Check out The Trails website for some fantastic options to go get Forest Therapy. The following are a few listed there:
- Little Grand Canyon Trail
- Busse Woods Forest Preserve
- Starved Rock State Park
- Rock Cut State Park
- Illinois Prairie Path
But seriously, a nearby park or fast drive over to Lake Michigan can do the job! Take your shoes off and walk in the grass, take a nap under a tree on a grassy patch to get in touch with nature! I say, let’s prepare, in advance, to head out as soon as we can to a nearby forest and create our very own Forest Therapy! It would be fantastic to make a day of it, pack lunch, or even camp out as soon as we can over the weekend. But if time does not permit, then even a short amount of time like a lunch break or an hour set aside to heal us is perfectly fine. We are all so badly in need of this sort of regenerating therapy. We must focus on us!