The Forest Makes You Healthy
Exercising in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is good for us. You don’t have to be a scientist to feel this on your own, but researchers have long backed up this theory with extensive tests too. Ever since, therapists use the forest and its healing effects on the human body and mind and treatments range from pain relief to addiction therapy. The effects trees have on people can even be physically measured.
Scientists proved that blood pressure drops, the pulse rates are lower and the body releases fewer stress hormones while people are in the forest. If you walk in the woods for at least 20 minutes, you also become happier. This is proven by an increased level of serotonin, which is a hormone responsible for feeling happiness.
To research the effects of the forest on humans, scientists go straight into the woods. They measure what happens in the body when we smell the typical forest smell or hear the rustling of leaves. Scientists see that the anticipation of a walk in the forest is often enough to trigger an effect as people become visibly more motivated. You can already measure this effect in yourself 15 minutes before a visit to the forest.
An Effective Short Vacation
Knowing the effects, it is no surprise that hospitals, for example, hang pictures of forests in their rooms. After all, most people associate positive impressions with the forest. It seems that looking at the forest is helpful, but, of course, this cannot replace a walk in the woods. Walking in a forest ensures an effective short vacation because the peace, fresh air, and childhood memories alleviate some mental illnesses like anxiety disorders as well as depression.
But not every type of forest works equally well. There are significant differences. Light forests with open spaces and streams have a different effect than dark forests. The latter is where people’s primal fears come to the fore. Most of the time forest hikers prefer a clear forest with a pleasant atmosphere, therefore therapists also mostly use such woods in their treatments.
Therapy in the Forest Works
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of ailments, such as addiction or even social reintegration after a long-term unemployment are worked on with the help of a forest. In addiction therapy, people learn to feel themselves again. The supervisors take long walks in the forest with their clients, and this way they can release their feelings to their surroundings. Studies have long indicated that the forest stimulates its visitors to move more as well. That, in turn, affects the psyche. It reduces the stress level, and the nervous system comes to rest. The forest becomes a relaxation area, and you can regain your strength.
Pain patients switch off entirely by taking a walk and tend to forget about everyday life. They deal better with their senses and their environment. So, they are able to consciously dedicate themselves to relaxation. Those affected report that the forest triggers a positive mood in them and thus helps them to cope better with the painful everyday life.