Greenspace Trees & Forest Bathing
The Japanese language is filled with beautiful words and terms that have a much more complex meaning than a single English word can convey. There is one term that I find fascinating; shinrin-yoku. It’s meaning; to take in the forest atmosphere or to simply forest bathe.
The act of forest bathing is a deliberate immersion into the forest as a means of healing. It is a pivotal element of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
While the idea of forest bathing has been the cornerstone of healing for Japanese medicine, there isn’t a lot our modern health care system has to say on its overwhelming benefits. Thankfully there has been plenty of scientific research put into the matter! While most of us don’t have access to a forest to completely immerse ourselves into every week, let alone every day, there are plenty of ways in which to receive the positive outcomes that forest bathing provides.
Green Space Trees
Here in Northern Indiana, “green space” is plentiful. Our fields are filled with crops, we have sprawling green lawns and access to trees and plants just outside our front doors. Unfortunately, if you reside in a city, many residents have little or no access dedicated to natural objects.
Having nature be a part of our everyday lives is crucial to our health and development. And not just our younger adolescent development, but into adulthood and until the end of our lives.
When researchers studied neighborhoods and apartment complexes with easy access to vegetation the noticed it resulted in positive social behavior such as acts of neighboring, friendliness, care and strong emotional ties. The more “green,” literally translated to less aggression, less crime and immensely positive social behaviors.
Taken directly from the research: “the presence of trees and grass in common spaces encourages their use, and that the more a courtyard is used, the stronger the neighborhood social ties among residents sharing that space. Individuals living adjacent to relatively green common spaces knew more of their neighbors, reported their neighbors were more concerned with helping and supporting one another, had a stronger feeling of belonging, and had more social activities and more visitors.”
Nature and our daily proximity to it is vital to our health overall well-being. I hope that those of you taking time out of your days to read these blogs grasp the importance of exposing yourself to it and enjoy soaking up a little “vitamin G (green).”