forest bathing three

Forest Bathing, three



series explore pay attention
way intention sharpen (2)
notice explore follow (2)
anger average spend/spent/spent (2)
brain evidence mounting
sound prescribe lead/led/led
bathe physician capture (2)
scent distract destination
texture vibrant present (3)
reveal immerse interaction
alone engage opportunity
reset nestled concerned
invite explore awareness
-like curiosity slow down
carve take over carve time
train certified distraction
guide therapy break free
wired addictive disconnect
seek cycle (2) concentrate
shred ground concentration
lack literally dopamine
release response immune system
focus research screen (2)
reduce indoors inflammation
awe cognitive cardiovascular
breath wiring (2) take a breath
seem goal (2) attention span
access space (2) pediatrician
stretch first time benefit (2)
pry discovery opportunity
bug (2) soak up king of the mountain
expose at least grounded (2)
hope crawfish immune response
wander cumulative






In our series Pay Attention, we explore ways to sharpen our focus and recapture our attention from distracting technology.

This morning we follow our mothers’ advice, who said, “Why don’t you go play outside?”

Americans spend an average of 93% of their time indoors or inside a car. That means just twelve hours a week is spent outside.

There’s mounting scientific evidence that spending time in nature is good for you body — and your brain.

That led us to explore a popular activity prescribed by Japanese physicians for years.

It’s a practice known as forest bathing.

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Annabel O’Neal, Certified Forest Therapy Guide: “Notice what sounds are around us. Notice the scents that are in the air. Notice the air as it moves around your body . . .”

Over the river . . .

“What colors do you see?”

. . . and through the woods.

“What textures?”

Nestled in the vibrant forest of New York State Park . . .

“Now we invite you to wander . . .”

We join a small group of first time forest bathers. Forest bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature by engaging the five senses.

Forest Bather one: “I really like the opportunity to just be alone.”

Forest Bather two: “I like that it’s completely silent.”

This is not a hike. There is no destination or goal.

This is about discovery and awareness.

Annabel O’Neal: “I ask the intention that whatever you see in front of you, you’re seeing that for the very first time.”

Annabel O’Neal is like any other twenty-year old . . .

Annabel O’Neal: “We must slow down, use our child-like curiosity to explore.”

Active online and posting on social media.

But she also carves time to break free from those digital distractions. It’s why she trained to become a certified, forest therapy guide.

Annabel O’Neal, Certified Forest Therapy Guide: “Technology has a kind of taken over and we’re so disconnected with it, and forest therapy brings people here. It brings people together. It brings people to the present moment.”

Dr. Eva Selhub, who wrote a book about nature’s effect on the brain, says we’re wired to seek out information, which can feed an addictive cycle with technology.

Journalists: “How do we use nature to stop this cycle of stress and shredding that everybody feels?”

Eva Selhub, Author, Your Brain on Nature: “Well, part of the issue with nature, is the lack of nature is causing part of that shredding.

When we’re exposed to nature, there’s this “awe” affect that happens, literally going from feeling closed to feeling open and connected, to feeling like we belong: dopamine gets released, our immune system gets improved and the stress response is decreased.”

Journalist: “Do all of the wiring that has been working against you when you feel stressed, can work for you if you find yourself in nature?”

Eva Selhub, Author, Your Brain on Nature: “That’s right.”

In fact, nearly fifteen years and millions of dollars of research, much of it in Japan, reveals that spending time in nature can reduce inflammation, depression and anger, while improving cardiovascular health, cognitive function, creativity and concentration.”

Eva Selhub, Author, Your Brain on Nature: “Being out in nature give us that. Just take a breath. And the minute you do that, you open up the brain centers to be able to concentrate more on what you need to do.”

Dr. Nooshin Razani, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland: “There seems to be a resetting of our attention span in natural spaces.

Pediatrician Nooshin Razani children especially need access to nature to develop properly.

Dr. Nooshin Razani, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland: “Sometime I get concerned that the more that that interaction is with a screen and less with actual people, and places, the less opportunity kids have to develop the emotional and social skills that it takes to get through life.”

It’s why she actually prescribes nature to help parents who can’t seem to pry their children or themselves away from their cell-phones.

Dr. Nooshin Razani, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland: “There are studies showing that there are specific health benefits to a forest. But it can happen in a forest and in a corner of a street. That’s still important.”

So whether you are a digital native kid on a nature walk holding a bug for the first time, or a grown man playing king of the mountain, your body and brain will soak up the benefits.

Journalist: “What do you want people to get out of forest bathing?”
Annabel O’Neal, Certified Forest Therapy Guide: “I guess I just want people to get more grounded and remember what it was like to be seven again, doing something just because it’s calling you or you feel like doing it.”

Like stretching out in full reach in hopes of discovering crawfish under a rock.

Studies show natural chemicals released by plants can have a positive effect on our stress level and our immune response. And it’s cumulative.

So the benefits from a weekend in the woods will last at least a week. There is also evidence that pictures of nature have a similar affect.

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1. Mothers always tell their children, “sit down and watch cartoons on TV.” True or false?

2. While forest bathing, should people focus and concentrate on their smart devices? Should they run and exercise vigorously?

3. Do forests, plants and nature have an effect on our physiology and biochemistry? Give examples.

4. Forest bathing also has a psychological (mental) affect on people. Is this right or wrong?

5. Should children especially be exposed to nature? Should there be lots of excursions and outings?

6. In a forest, people should think about work, studies, daily problems. Or they should be like children and forget about everything.

7. Is being in nature once enough, or should people be in nature as often as possible?


A. There are lot of parks, forest and nature in my region. Yes or no?

B. Do people love walking, strolling and wandering in parks, forests and nature?

C. Is there a nature awareness campaign?

D. What may happen in the future?

E. Should governments do anything? What should doctors, the medical establishment and health insurance companies do?

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