Waldbaden: The new health trend - and what's behind it

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Japanese forest bathing (Shinrin Yoku) has long been part of official health care in Asia. Meanwhile, the trend has arrived but also with us. Thus, Germany's first recognized healing forest was established on Usedom. But you do not have to drive far to experience the healing effects of the green, because scientific research has shown that every beautiful mixed forest has amazing effects on our body.

Terpene and essential oils activate the immune system of humans when they breathe them in, as more white blood cells are formed. Tests show that after an extensive walk in the forest, there are around 50 percent more than before. And if you go hiking for two days, there are even 70 percent more white blood cells. These cells fight harmful germs that have invaded the body and even kill cancer cells.

Branch with cones of white fir

pine branch

Essential oils, which flow from the branches of the white fir (left), strengthen the human immune system and raise the mood. Cleansing the respiratory tract and beneficial for bronchitis have molecules that are contained in the scent of pine trees (right). They also help with fatigue

The cardiovascular system also benefits from walking through nature. The adrenal cortex increasingly produces DHEA, a hormone that prevents aging. Above all, it strengthens heart and vessels. In addition, the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the resting nerve, increases in the forest. The levels of the hormone cortisol in the blood, the pulse rate and blood pressure decrease. All these values ​​are increased in stress and strain the body. The parasympathetic nervous system is also responsible for the metabolism, the regeneration and the development of power reserves.


Researchers have shown that inhaling cedarwood oils lowers elevated blood pressure

The extra dose of oxygen, which the forest air offers, lifts the mood and even triggers happiness in us. In addition, the respiratory tract that is suffering from particulate-laden air in cities can recover. For the forest bathing one chooses a piece of nature in which one feels well, optimal is a light mixed forest. Take your time: to reduce stress, a four-hour walk is recommended. For the sustainable strengthening of the immune system you should go for three days in a row a few hours in the forest. Because the body is not supposed to tire, you can look for a nice spot for a break if necessary and let the atmosphere calm down.

Center of processing

Conscious thinking takes place primarily in the cerebral cortex. But for relaxation and wellbeing, two evolutionarily much older brain regions are responsible: the limbic system and the brain stem.

Scheme human brain

The limbic system (1) senses all external stimuli such as sounds or odors and controls whether they mean danger. The brain stem (2) controls important body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. When threatened, these are increased

The modern everyday life with overstimulation, hectic and deadline pressure brings these areas in constant alarm. Man would like to respond to it as in the Stone Age with flight or fight. But that is not appropriate today. The result is that the body is constantly under stress. In the forest with the scent, the green of the trees and the birdsong, however, these brain regions know: Everything is fine here! The organism can calm down.

Video Board: Shinrin-yoku.

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