We were fascinated by this article about some scientific research in Japan that actually explains why hanging out with trees improves your immune function!
The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing” QZ.COM
Forest bathing is a fancy way of saying hanging out with trees – no need for walking or dancing or hugging – just sitting in their presence.
From 2004 to 2012,Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo conducted research costing over $4m and measured the activity of human natural killer (NK) cells in the immune system before and after exposure to the woods. These cells provide fast actions to viral-infected cells and are linked with immune system health and prevention of cancer. The study showed increases in NK cells after hanging out with the trees with effects lasting for up to a month! The research believes this is caused by essential oils or phytoncide found in trees which they use to protect themselves and inhaling this phytoncide actually improves our immune system function.
We always knew hanging out in nature felt good and now we know why
PS: We have lots of trees here at Billabong – come and boost your NK cells!
You can view the research summary here