A Blanket of Health

sugi-forest-and-Japanese-woman-1A healthy forest is a medicine factory.

Nature has designed us to feel good when we are surrounded by trees. Perhaps this is it’s way of encouraging us to do more of it.

Forest Bathing (shin-rin-yoku)

The Japanese countryside is covered with magnificent Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica, the Japanese Cedar) forests.

sugi-cedar-tree-and-shrine-280Sugi is officially the national tree of Japan. It is a hardy tree which lives up to 500 years and a common sight around temples and shrines.

In Japan people  engage in visiting forests to improve their health, in a practice called shin-rin-yoku (forest bathing).

The practice has its origins in ancient Shinto practice of striving to become one with nature by employing all five senses to feel its presence.

forest-bathin-in-Japanese-cedar-forest-280There are many organized day tours. If you visit Japan, your hotel concierge will be more than glad to help you find one nearby at a reasonable cost.

The Science Connection

In the scent which Japanese cedar (and its incense) gives off there is a natural anti-microbial substance called Phytoncides, a class of chemicals related to pheromones.

The purpose of Sugi’s Phytoncides is to help the tree stay healthy by preventing rot and attacks by germs, bacteria and insects.

Phytoncides, in incense as well as compound form, are widely used in Eastern medicine and aromatherapy for general relaxation and to improve health.

According to research conducted by Professor Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Japan’s leading scientist on nature therapy, forest bathing can result in boosting body’s immune response. It can also significantly lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol) and lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Yoshi

Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
Yoshi

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Yoshi

About Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
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One Response to A Blanket of Health

  1. Patrick says:

    Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”….
    and now Miyazaki has added trees, too 👌🏼

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