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Nature Therapy

Yoshifumi Miyazaki | TEDxTokyo 2012

Want to de-stress, lower your blood pressure and pulse, and even bolster your immune system’s ability to fight cancer? Yoshifumi Miyazaki’s suggestion? Try “forest bathing.” (That’s forest therapy speak for taking a walk in the woods―no disrobing required.) A university professor, researcher and the deputy director of Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, he’s perfectly serious. Plants, you see, emit phytoncides, chemical compounds that repel rot and insects and have serendipitously beneficial effects on humans. Yoshifumi’s research found, for example, that contemplating a forest scene for just 20 minutes lowered levels of salivary cortisone, a stress hormone. He has published several books on the effects and benefits of forest therapy, and the concept is spreading. The Japanese government has created a few dozen forest therapy centers, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology have both honored the good doctor.