Natural Health

How To Use Forest Bathing To Fight Aging

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Brain Vitality Plus

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How To Use Forest Bathing To Fight Aging about Brain Vitality Plus

A growing body of research shows that forest bathing significantly boosts your health and mood.

One important reason for these effects, researchers say, is that the essential oils you inhale during “forest bathing” can make impressively beneficial changes to the systems of your body. What’s more, researchers are trying to harness these forest benefits to help hospital patients recover from illness and injury faster. But you don’t have to be a hospital patient to enjoy your own forest bath and improve your health. You can do it right now…

First off, you’re probably wondering, what is forest bathing? If you’re picturing taking a bath in the forest—that’s what we thought at first too—that’s close but not exactly right.

Forest bathing is a new term for walking in a forested area or a park filled with trees. Studies show that the tree’s oils, which scientists call phytoncides, can result in better overall health.

Powerful natural chemicals that float through the air

The term phytoncides was first introduced by a Russian biologist. It derives from the word “phyton”, which refers to botany in ancient Greek, and “cide”, which means its power to drive off insects and parasites. But other scientists refer to these chemicals as forest volatile compounds or forest VOCs.

Whatever you want to call them, experts estimate that forests and other vegetation give off about a billion tons of these healthy chemicals a year. And while they may repel many bugs and harmful microbes, these substances can promote better health and well-being in humans.

Although forest air contains thousands of different VOCs, two of the most prominent and important are limonene and pinene.

Lowering harmful inflammation

Limonene, according to many tests, is great for the immune system. In particular, it can help lower chronic inflammation and limit the damaging misbehavior of immune cells that are connected to a wide range of diseases including arthritis and heart disease.

For example, a review study that analyzed investigations into forest VOCs found that limonene is particularly useful for fighting off inflammation in the airways and lungs.1 As a result, researchers believe that it could be used to help treat conditions like asthma and allergies along with other conditions that make it hard to breathe.2 Chronic inflammation can also increase your risk for cancer.

As for pinene, which is primarily released by pine trees, some researchers have referred to this natural chemical as a “miracle gift of nature.”3

Research into how pinene may be able to help fight cancer has found that it could help make some anti-cancer drugs more effective – particularly against lung tumors.4 Other studies show that pinene may be able to limit inflammation in the stomach and digestive tract and lower your risk of ulcers.5

But it’s only the beginning of the amazing benefits of oils released by pine trees.

Banishes insomnia

Scientists also investigated the physiological effects of pinene and carene-- another air-borne compound given off by pine trees-- and found that the combination can help you sleep better. They work by influencing how neurons in the brain latch onto gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps trigger sleep when the brain’s GABA receptors receive an adequate supply of GABA. According to tests at Baylor, pinene and carene aid in making sure more of those connections occur in the brain and can result in a more restful sleep.6

Other benefits of inhaling the tree VOCs in forest air include:

  • Improving your immune system: Researchers in Asia have shown that breathing in phytoncides increases the activities of powerful immune cells called natural killer cells.7 These immune cells kill off cancer cells and destroy cells infected with viruses and other pathogens.
  • Helping your body better manage stress: Tests show that inhaling forest VOCs lowers the levels of stress hormones circulating in the blood. These VOCs also reduce blood sugar levels – which, say researchers, lessens the impact of stress on the cardiovascular system and helps support better metabolism.8

What does it all mean for you?

These many health benefits have spurred researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University into trying to reproduce in hospital settings the effects of walking through a forest. They accomplish this by having patients experience virtual reality programs combined with inhaling extracts of the compounds released by trees and vegetation. They are calling it “simulated forest immersion therapy” (SFIT).9

The scientists believe that these simulations could be used to help patients heal faster. Reading about their efforts reminds us of the old sanitariums built in nature settings to help people heal from serious illnesses. The VOCs probably did help a lot!

Our Takeaway

Don’t wait to get sick or be in a hospital to take advantage of the health-boosting effects of wooded areas. Take a stroll in nature as frequently as possible. In addition to reaping the benefits of exercise, inhaling the VOCs in forest air could offer great long-term benefits to your overall health.

Best Regards,
The Aging Defeated Team

Brain Vitality Plus

Brain Vitality Plus

Next Generation Cognitive Enhancement & Recovery Matrix


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