How Does Forest Bathing Help Cancer?
The battle against cancer is one of humanity’s most difficult tasks. And while a lot of money is spent on pharmaceutical drugs or surgeries, there are alternatives that could help prevent this nasty disease.
In this article, we’ll talk about forest bathing benefits and most importantly the forest bathing-cancer link, in which spending time outdoors could actually fight off sickness.
What is Forest Bathing?
Shinrin-Yoku is what the Japanese have called “forest bathing” for ages now. It involves going out into the forest, and basking in the beauty of the trees around you.
As one of the healthiest, longest living cultures, it turns out they were onto something. Forest bathing, or forest therapy, is about healing your mind, body, and emotions with nature.
And the benefits are not just “woo woo” but actually grounded in science. So let’s cover how nature therapy is so good for your wellbeing:
The Disease Fighting Benefits of Forest Bathing — (Cancer Prevention and More)
You may have heard of the benefits of nature therapy like forest bathing. For instance, you can improve your connection with the world around you.
When you’re surrounded by nothing but forest, you can let your mind wander, opening up creative channels you didn’t know you possessed.
And of course, there’s the psychological effect of being surrounded by greenery in a world where most of our buildings are gray and muted.
Even the placebo effect can describe why it feels so good to engage in forest therapy.
But aside from these subjective truths, there are scientific reasons that trees are so good for you and help against cancer. Let’s review just a few of them:
- Mood Enhancement – Even just 20 minutes of forest bathing has been shown to improve your emotional mood.
- Less Depression – The release of serotonin while in nature helps alleviate depression and dark thoughts.
- Lower Stress Levels – The stress hormone cortisol is lowered when you’re forest bathing, removing stress from the body.
- Greater Focus – You can concentrate on less, and therefore focus more, when in natural surroundings.
- Fighting Cancer – Trees actually help fight cancer in a number of ways, and even prevent it. Trees aid your immune system, and even “kill” cancer. More on that in a minute.
- Lower Blood Pressure – Heart disease can be helped or prevented by spending time in forests.
How Does Forest Bathing Help Cancer?
Stress is one of the silent killers of our generation. And there are plenty of studies proving how higher stress levels lower our immune system and our body’s ability to fight off cancer.
With that information alone, it’s clear to see how forest bathing can help cancer. But there’s an even more powerful, direct way that it helps defeat cancer.
Cancer’s Worst Nightmare: Forest Bathing and NK Cells
Our body has something called Natural Killer (NK) cells. They are responsible for killing harmful microbes in our system. In fact, they also control and limit the growth of tumors, such as those caused by cancer.
As you might imagine, the more active these NK cells are, the more effectively you can fight off diseases.
Research found that people who spent time in the forest had increased NK cell activity.
But why? Well, it has to do with essential oils in trees called Phytoncides.
Phytoncides — The Forest’s Secret Weapon Against Cancer
Phytoncides are volatile compounds that organically come from trees. You can come into contact with these by simply being near trees or smelling the aroma from trees.
These anti-inflammatory agents increase your body’s NK cell count, as well as other cancer-fighting proteins.
And that’s how trees help against cancer, in addition to everything else mentioned above.
How to Go Forest Bathing
“Bathing” in a forest or group of trees is simple:
- Pick a spot around trees where you feel comfortable and safe without needing a phone.
- Sit, stand, or lie down by a tree that interests you.
- Close your eyes and listen to the sounds, notice the smells, and feel the air around you.
- Open your eyes and visually enjoy the trees you see in the forest.
- Touch the trees — their bark, leaves, or other parts of the tree.
- Breathe deeply, and focus on how good you feel.
And that’s it. You can do this for 20 minutes, 2 hours, or however long you like.
Protect Your Health Today With Forest Bathing
When it comes to forest bathing and cancer, science has spoken. It’s a free, natural, beautiful way to protect yourself against humanity’s most cruel disease. So why not try forest bathing today? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.