THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING IN FORESTS
A 5 minute read
Nature is kind of like your mum. She knows what’s best for you, but she also knows what’s best for the rest of her family, and thankfully she doesn’t smack you when you get your maths homework wrong. This week’s newsletter is about why you should let Mumma nature take care of you. More specifically, forests. And even more specifically, why hanging out in forests is really good for your health.
A huge amount of studies and research shows that exposure to forests/being in forests actually boost the immune system because the body and mind feel safe and at home there. It’s an instinctual response which allows the body’s resources to be focussed on the immune system. Being in forests also exposes you to bacteria which is good for your immune system too, kinda like an immune system workout.
Other initial benefits include much higher oxygen intake which allows your cells to saturate and satiate themselves with oxygen, a critical element in biological processes.
Mental benefits include endorphins and serotonin release when you’re in the forest. These are 2 of the 4 ‘happiness’ hormones. According to the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, having a forest view at work greatly increases productivity and job satisfaction.
Forests are natural drug stores. There are countless forest plants and animals producing all sorts of antibiotics, biologically active compounds that can help prevent all sorts of diseases and illnesses.
The story of Humankind is somewhat a journey from nature to urban living. But in our DNA is the forest and a nature living & loving beast. You know when you go for a stroll in the forest, there is often an almost palpable atmosphere. Some mysterious feeling of presence. As if the forest is one giant being. That feeling when you sit around a crackling campfire with your friends. It connects within us something deep, it touches our soul.
In Japan, the religion of Shinto is the most prevalent and there are many forest deities. The Japanese worship these deities who often bring fertility, good fortune, weather and prosperity.
Another beautiful example from Japan is ‘Shrinrin Yoku’, literally, forest bathing. A Japanese way and belief of cleansing the soul, mind and body by hanging out in forests.
The forests are protecting us! Let’s protect them back.
The Amazon rainforest alone absorbs around 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Our forests around the world are essential for slowing down climate change and protecting us by cleaning the air we breathe. But as you probably know, huge amounts of rainforest are being destroyed for oil and gas concessions, palm oil plantations and other agricultural reasons. A big culprit is the Chinese government with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which started in early 2013. The BRI is China’s soft colonisation of poor countries like Ecuador and other countries who have taken huge loans from China. They can’t pay their loans back and then China take other collateral and can advance their massive ambitions of foreign infrastructure and geopolitical gain. This has resulted in catastrophic devastation to natural habitats like the rainforests of South America and Central Africa.
However, a bit of good news, we have officially partnered up with the Rainforest Trust UK and we have already protected 125 acres of rainforest. Your support is greatly appreciated. Not in the form of donations, but in the form of sharing our story and what we are doing. Tell your mates about biostays.com, get them to sign up to the newsletter or forward this email/newsletter to friends and family. It really helps us with our mission – providing epic travel adventures and helping protect our planet’s natural environment.