Forest Therapy Without Leaving Your Home - Ryz Rémi by Functional Blends

Forest Therapy Without Leaving Your Home

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

 

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” 

-Albert Einstein

 

Interacting with nature is important for our overall well-being.

In Japan, Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing is a program that encourages people to get out into nature, to literally bathe the mind and body in greenspace. More broadly, it is defined as “taking in, in all of our senses, the forest atmosphere.”

Researchers in Japan have collected psychological and physiological data on over 800 adults who have engaged in shinrin-yoku. These studies have confirmed that spending time within a forest setting can reduce psychological stress, depressive symptoms and hostility, while at the same time improving sleep and increasing both vigor and feelings of liveliness (1-7).   

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

How do you interact with nature when you can't go outside? 

 

    1. Bring Nature to You
    2. Look at Images of Nature
    3. Play Nature Themed Video Games
    4. Listen to Nature
    5. Smell Nature

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

1. Bring Nature to You

Having live plants and flowers in your home and office is beneficial for your health.  

Even just having a plant in your room may improve your mood.  For instance, patients in a hospital room with indoor plants reported less stress than those in the control condition (8-10). Decorating offices with plants has also been shown to decrease levels of discomfort such as cough and fatigue and improve health (11).

These effects may in part be caused by the plants removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air (12). VOCs are emitted from materials such as carpets, wallpaper, office chairs, and electronic equipment, with highest emissions from new products. Several ornamental potted plant species have the ability to absorb VOCs from indoor air and reduce exposure to the dangerous chemicals (13).

Interacting with nature also helps you focus and brings you into the present moment. When you look at a plant or smell an aromatic flower, your mind is drawn into the pleasant experience.  

When your thoughts focus on nature, your mind is no longer filled with the chattering in your head- no more worrying about the past or anticipating the future.

For a few moments, your thoughts are clear.  

Touch the plants. Smell them. Talk to them. Take pictures and videos of plants and flowers and share them. 

Try this: 14 Houseplants for People with No Green Thumb 

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

2. Look at Images of Nature

Looking at pictures and videos of nature can help lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety (10, 14). 

Keep in mind that this can be very individual- you may find images of oceans and water very calming, or you may respond better to images of trees and forests. 

Choose images that are meaningful and beautiful to you. 

Try this: Made a Pinterest Board and Collect Pictures of Nature

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

3. Play Nature Themed Video Games

In a preliminary study, exposure to a virtual natural environment helped individuals recover from a stressful challenge better than the control group (15). These results suggest that spending time is a virtual forest could help enhance your calm.

Do you have a favorite nature inspired game you play?  

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

4. Listen to Nature

Listening to pleasant nature sounds can help lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety and reduce agitation levels (16-18). 

Try This: Listen to a luscious liquid waterfall in Ireland 

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

5. Smell Nature

Aromatherapy is a simple, effective and enjoyable method of stress relief.

Terpenes are small flavor compounds you can smell. Examples include linalool from lavender and limonene in citrus rind. Terpenes can enter into your body as you inhale them (19-20). Terpenes have many health benefits and smelling them can help enhance calmness and improve mood (21).

Lavender essential oil has a rich floral scent, which can improve states of calm and relaxation (22-27). Smelling lavender has been shown to significantly decrease blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce levels of stress hormones, including cortisol (24). The aroma of lavender has also been shown to increase the power of theta (4-8 Hz) and alpha (8-13 Hz) brain activities, which correspond with a state of deep relaxation (25). 

Sweet orange essential oil has a fresh, sweet and citrusy scent and smelling sweet orange can reduce anxiety, improve mood and increase calmness (27-29). 

Try This: Break into the peel of an orange, inhale deeply and smell the terpenes!   

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

Interacting with nature promotes a state of calm and relaxation.

 

How do you interact with nature when you can't get outside?   

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

 

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” 

–Henry David Thoreau

 

Ryz Remi Spirit Pacific Park Forest University of British Columbia Vancouver Canada

References

All photos from this series taken by Penelope Slack

1. Mao GX, Lan XG, Cao YB, Chen ZM, He ZH, Lv YD, Wang YZ, Hu XL, Wang GF, Yan J. Effects of short-term forest bathing on human health in a broad-leaved evergreen forest in Zhejiang Province, China. Biomed Environ Sci. 2012 Jun;25(3):317-24.

2. Tsunetsugu Y, Park BJ, Ishii H, Hirano H, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. Physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the atmosphere of the forest) in an old-growth broad leaf forest in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 Mar;26(2):135-42.

3. Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Kasetani T, Hirano H, Kagawa T, Sato M, Miyazaki Y. Physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the atmosphere of the forest)--using salivary cortisol and cerebral activity as indicators. J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 Mar;26(2):123-8.

4. Morita E, Fukuda S, Nagano J, Hamajima N, Yamamoto H, Iwai Y, Nakashima T, Ohira H, Shirakawa T. Psychological effects of forest environments on healthy adults: Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing, walking) as a possible method of stress reduction. Public Health. 2007 Jan;121(1):54-63.

5. Tsunetsugu Y, Park BJ, Lee J, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y.  [Psychological relaxation effect of forest therapy: results of field experiments in 19 forests in Japan involving 228 participants]. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep;66(4):670-6. Japanese.

6. Miyazaki Y, Ikei H, Song C. Forest medicine research in Japan. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2014;69(2):122-35. Review.

7. Berman MG, Kross E, Krpan KM, Askren MK, Burson A, Deldin PJ, Kaplan S, Sherdell L, Gotlib IH, Jonides J. Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. J Affect Disord. 2012 Nov;140(3):300-5.

8. Dijkstra K, Pieterse ME, Pruyn A. Stress-reducing effects of indoor plants in the built healthcare environment: the mediating role of perceived attractiveness. Prev Med. 2008 Sep;47(3):279-83.

9. Lee MS, Lee J, Park BJ, Miyazaki Y. Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. J Physiol Anthropol. 2015 Apr 28;34:21.

10. Beukeboom CJ, Langeveld D, Tanja-Dijkstra K. Stress-reducing effects of real and artificial nature in a hospital waiting room. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Apr;18(4):329-33.

11. Fjeld T, Veiersted B, Sandvik L, Riise G, Levy F (1998) The effect of indoor foliage plants on health and discomfort symptoms among office workers. Indoor Built Environ 7:204–209.

12. Dela Cruz M, Christensen JH, Thomsen JD, Müller R. Can ornamental potted plants remove volatile organic compounds from indoor air? A review. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Dec;21(24):13909-28.

13. Yang DS, Pennisi SV, Son KC, Kays SJ (2009) Screening indoor plants for volatile organic pollutant removal efficiency. Hortscience 44: 1377–1381

14. Tsutsumi M, Nogaki H, Shimizu Y, Stone TE, Kobayashi T. Individual reactions to viewing preferred video representations of the natural environment: A comparison of mental and physical reactions. Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2016 May 10.

15. Annerstedt M, Jönsson P, Wallergård M, Johansson G, Karlson B, Grahn P, Hansen AM, Währborg P.  Inducing physiological stress recovery with sounds of nature in a virtual reality forest--results from a pilot study. Physiol Behav. 2013 Jun 13;118:240-50.

16. Aghaie B, Rejeh N, Heravi-Karimooi M, Ebadi A, Moradian ST, Vaismoradi M, Jasper M. Effect of nature-based sound therapy on agitation and anxiety in coronary artery bypass graft patients during the weaning of mechanical ventilation: A randomised clinical trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2014 Apr;51(4):526-38.

17. Saadatmand V, Rejeh N, Heravi-Karimooi M, Tadrisi SD, Zayeri F, Vaismoradi M, Jasper M.  Effect of nature-based sounds' intervention on agitation, anxiety, and stress in patients under mechanical ventilator support: a randomised controlled trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2013 Jul;50(7):895-904.

18. Bauer BA, Cutshall SA, Anderson PG, Prinsen SK, Wentworth LJ, Olney TJ, Messner PK, Brekke KM, Li Z, Sundt TM 3rd, Kelly RF, Bauer BA. Effect of the combination of music and nature sounds on pain and anxiety in cardiac surgical patients: a randomized study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Jul-Aug;17(4):16-23.

19. Falk-Filipsson A, Löf A, Hagberg M, Hjelm EW, Wang Z. d-limonene exposure to humans by inhalation: uptake, distribution, elimination, and effects on the pulmonary function.  J Toxicol Environ Health. 1993; 38: 77–88. 

20. Falk AA, Hagberg MT, Löf AE, Wigaeus-Hjelm EM, Wang ZP. Uptake, distribution and elimination of alpha-pinene in man after exposure by inhalation. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1990 Oct;16(5):372-8.

21. Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;163(7):1344-64.

22. Chen MC, Fang SH, Fang L. The effects of aromatherapy in relieving symptoms related to job stress among nurses. Int J Nurs Pract. 2013 Nov 15.

23. Kim S, Kim HJ, Yeo JS, Hong SJ, Lee JM, Jeon Y. The effect of lavender oil on stress, bispectral index values, and needle insertion pain in volunteers. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep;17(9):823-6.

24. Kim IH, Kim C, Seong K, Hur MH, Lim HM, Lee MS. Essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels in prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:984203.

25. Toda M, Morimoto K. Effect of lavender aroma on salivary endocrinological stress markers. Arch Oral Biol. 2008 Oct;53(10):964-8.

26. Sayorwan W, Siripornpanich V, Piriyapunyaporn T, Hongratanaworakit T, Kotchabhakdi N, Ruangrungsi N. The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity.  J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 Apr;95(4):598-606.

27. Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Lehr S, Johren P, Deecke L. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol Behav. 2005 Sep 15;86(1-2):92-5.

28. Goes TC, Antunes FD, Alves PB, Teixeira-Silva F. Effect of sweet orange aroma on experimental anxiety in humans. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):798-804.

29. Lehrner J, Eckersberger C, Walla P, Pötsch G, Deecke L. Ambient odor of orange in a dental office reduces anxiety and improves mood in female patients. Physiol Behav. 2000 Oct 1-15;71(1-2):83-6.




Natasha Ryz
Natasha Ryz

Author

Dr. Natasha Ryz, PhD, MSc, BSc, is cofounder of Ryz Rémi Organic Skin Care in Vancouver, Canada. Natasha has a PhD in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia and is a Vanier scholar. She has a strong background in nutrition and holds a Master’s degree and a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutritional Sciences.



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