and other things I do to stay healthy during this pandemic
We don’t often associate the word chemicals with the forest, but the truth is, everything is made of chemicals, and the forest is no exception.
Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, is precisely what the name suggests: taking in the atmosphere of the forest. Relatively new to the West, forest bathing has gained attention in Japan, Korea and Taiwan for its ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress and inflammation and boost the immune system.
While natural remedies and alternative medicines have reputations for being less than reliable with no data to back up their claims, forest bathing has no such reputation. In fact, there have been several scientific studies that have tested the purported benefits of forest bathing only to prove their bold claims.
Many of these benefits come from trees which contain phytoncides, powerful natural chemicals produced by plants and make up the immune system of the plant itself. Phytoncides are antimicrobial organic compounds that stimulate human natural killer (NK) cell activity and T cell production which fight a wide array of infected cells. The Hinoki Wood, a tree native to Japan where the benefits of forest bathing are most widely known, has been shown to have one of the highest percentages of these phytoncides.
Bringing the benefits to you
Essential oils are excellent ways to harness the power of plants and extract their benefits, but what about phytoncides? Are they too extracted and contained within the essential oil? It would seem that the answer is yes. In the study The effects of Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki Wood) essential oil on pain-related behavior and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in carrageenan-induced arthritis in rats researchers found that the application of Hinoki Wood essential oil reduced pain-related behavior and pro-inflammatory cytokines due to arthritis by 10%.
In addition to more recent scientific studies, Hinoki Wood essential oil has been anecdotally praised for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits on allergies and inflammation. Not to mention, it smells good! With an aroma that can be most simply described as “clean” its fragrance can also be described in many ways: dry, fine, woody and has light terpenic nuances with soft herbal lemony overtones and an undertone that’s warm, sweet and somewhat spicy.
We don’t all have access to the forest, and even if we do, we’re not always able to take a stroll and bask in its glory. Our Bee Naturals Forest Mist is formulated with Chamaecyparis obtusa essential oil to bring the therapeutic benefits of Hinoki Wood to you. This therapeutic and refreshing mist can be used daily in your hair, on your clothes, or as a fragrance. You can use it as often as needed for general well-being and self-care!
It takes a multifaceted approach
Whether you’re trying to get ahead of your health or already battling pain, there are other lifestyle and nutrition changes you can make in addition to incorporating the benefits of Hinoki Wood to help boost your immune system and alleviate inflammation.
Our founder Barbara Chappuis (pictured below) has implemented forest bathing along with the following lifestyle changes to manage her own autoimmune disorder:
Weakened immune systems and chronic inflammation are incredibly frustrating, especially when there is no one-size-fits-all cure, but environmental influences, nutrition and other lifestyle choices can be incredibly influential factors on our health. Our symptoms are incredibly individualistic and different people respond to different things. While it’s not always easy to stay motivated, especially in the midst of pain, little changes can go a long way to improving our health in the long run.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF IMMUNOPATHOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY VISITING A FOREST, BUT NOT A CITY, INCREASES HUMAN NATURAL KILLER ACTIVITY AND EXPRESSION OF ANTI-CANCER PROTEINS
National Center for Biotechnology Information Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function by Qing Li
The New York Times How to Create an At-Home Forest Bathing Ritual