Anyone who goes into the forest feels it instinctively. The forest does good. But why is that? Scientists all over the world are working on this question. In Japan, since 2012, universities have even had their own branch of research, Forest Medicine, which has come to astonishing results.
One of the earliest studies on the health effects of the forest appeared in the renowned scientific magazine "Science" as early as 1984. According to this study, the mere sight of trees has a measurably positive effect.
Patients who looked out of the hospital window into the greenery after an operation recovered more quickly than those who only looked at a house wall. The patients also needed fewer painkillers.
A large 2015 study by environmental psychologist Marc Berman at the University of Chicago came to further conclusions:
The fewer trees there are in a residential neighborhood, the higher the risk of typical diseases of civilization such as cardiovascular weakness, high blood pressure or diabetes.
British researchers also proved that exercise in the forest also lifts the mood and reduces stress. The diverse sensory impressions, such as the singing of birds and the smell of pine needles, activate the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.
This is an important part of our nervous system that is responsible for rest and regeneration down to the cellular level. Especially in city people, a high activity of its counterpart, the sympathetic nervous system, has been measured. Thus, the forest effectively acts as a counterbalance.
During a walk in the forest, we breathe in substances with which plants exchange messages among themselves, so-called terpenes. They strengthen our immune system. For a study at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, researchers placed test subjects in a hotel. In one half, the air they breathed was enriched with forest air during the night. The very next day, the blood samples of precisely these participants showed a significantly higher number and activity of the body's own killer cells.
For study leader Professor Qing Li, this was a groundbreaking finding. "My experiment showed that the terpenes stimulate both immune cells and natural killer cells, and that enhances the effect of immune function," said the pioneer of forest medicine, who hopes that the power of trees may even be able to prevent cancer.
Subsequent research produced the following results:
One day in the forest 40% increase in killer cells Two days in the forest 50% increase in killer cells One day in the forest means that the killer cells are still increased for 7 more days, with 2-3 days in the forest even up to 30 days. Also the increase in performance is increased by more than 50%.
The Austrian biologist Clemens Arvay collects these results and many other international research findings and, like many other scientists, has come to the conclusion that
"the forest strengthens our immune system, helps us against depression, against stress and burnout. It is good for our general well-being, for our skin and can protect us from serious, chronic diseases, even from heart attacks.
Our AYOUN tip for you:
"What are we waiting for? Off to the forest for more health, beauty and vitality"!