We used to unroll the windows as we approached the cabin so our dog could "smell" the air. If we didn't do this she would get agitated and start pacing in the backseat. We could see we were getting close to our "forest getaway" but she could only smell it so we helped her out by unrolling the window. Once we arrived at the cabin and got out of the car we could smell the forest too. It seemed as if our blood pressure dropped and the smiles began.
Dr. Sarah Cimperman describes this phenomenon as Forest Bathing in her blog post ( http://adifferentkindofdoctor.blogspot.com/2010/10/forest-therapy.html ):
"Researchers have studied the psychological effects of forest bathing... Almost 500 Japanese adults were surveyed on days they spent time in a forest and also in their normal environment. Statistical analyzes revealed that, compared to their normal environments, inside a forest the participants reported significantly less depression and hostility, and felt significantly more lively. And the greater the level of stress individuals experienced, the greater the positive effects of forest bathing. Researchers concluded that forests are “therapeutic landscapes” and that forest bathing may decrease the risk of stress-related diseases.
I am currently preparing to speak about the "Magic of Gardens" and in my talk I will include all the health benefits gained from being in nature. Organizing a seminar for stressed out professionals? Want a fun and inspired talk? Think of all the health effects of gardening and spending time in nature and call me for your next seminar, workshop or speaker series.
Thanks to the CBC radio show The Current (http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/05/04/urban-by-nature-documentary/?dataPath=http://www.cbc.ca/photogallery/radio1/gallery_4475/xml/gallery_4475.xml&startImage=0) for first covering this topic last spring. It took me a while to process and pass along!
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