Nature & Healing
Nature's Beauty Heals.
Research today confirms the profound healing and restorative effects of nature on our mind and body. For instance, there are studies that show that some trees emit invisible chemicals known as phytoncides that have the potential to reduce stress hormones like cortisol, lower blood pressure and improve immunity.
There is also plenty of research that proves that people who live closer to open green spaces are healthier and live longer.
The Japanese practice of forest bathing (being in the presence of trees) is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well being.
Researchers have even tried to identify the most effective "dose" of nature within the context of normal daily life. They found that spending 20-30 minutes outdoors soaking in nature was the prescription for health and happiness.
The study demonstrates that a single 8-hour mindfulness meditation retreat can rapidly alter methylation levels that affect epigenetic expression in genes among experienced meditators. Involved genes include those that regulate inflammation, immune cell metabolism, DNA repair, cellular aging, RNA metabolism, protein translation, cell adhesion, and neurotransmission.
These findings align with other studies showing that mindfulness meditation practice has immune system benefits relevant to health and aging.
All these actions are likely to improve immune function either directly or indirectly:
Studies show health benefits from having a window with a view of a tree (Ulrich, 1984) and even from spending time with a potted plant (Grinde and Patil, 2009).
Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, According to Science
A walk in the woods—or even a sound machine that plays recordings from nature—can affect heart rate and alter connections in the brain, say researchers.
According to a new study, they physically alter the connections in our brains, reducing our body’s natural fight-or-flight instinct.
Natural sounds and green environments have been linked with relaxation and well-being for hundreds of years, of course. But the new research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is the first to use brain scans, heart-rate monitors, and behavioral experiments to suggest a physiological cause for these effects.