Effect of forest bathing (‘shinrin-yoku’) on human health – a literature review
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Dr Karol Jonscher Municipal Medical Centre, Łódź, Poland
T. Marciniak Lower Silesian Specialist Hospital – Emergency Medicine Centre, Wrocław, Poland
Multispecialist Regional Hospital, Gorzów Wlkp, Limited Liability Company Wrocław, Poland
Nikolay Pirogov Specilized District Hospital, Łódź, Poland
Corresponding author
Magdalena Krala-Szkaradowska   

Miejskie Centrum Medyczne im. dr Karola Jonschera, Milionowa 14, 93-113, Łódź, Polska
Med Srod. 2024;27(1):12-17
Introduction and objective:
In contemporary times, stress is an inherent part of human life which can contribute to the development of many lifestyle diseases. Therefore, methods of coping with stress and strategies for preventing stress-related diseases have been long the focus of interest in the medical community. In recent times, there has been a surge in interest regarding the practice of ’shinrin yoku’, also known as forest bathing. This practice entails walking or immersing oneself in a forested environment, actively engaging all sensory modalities in the perception of the surroundings. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of forest bathing on human health.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
Forest bathing has been proven to have a positive impact on both mental and physical health. A decrease in cortisol levels in saliva and an increase in serotonin levels in the blood have been observed. Studies using a POMS questionnaire showed a reduction in levels of fatigue, tension, anger, and anxiety, along with increased vigour. Improvement in sleep quality was also noted. Forest bathing lowered blood pressure and heart rate while increasing Heart Rate Variability (HRV). The activity of NK cells in the immune system also increased.

Based on a review of studies, forest bathing has a positive impact on human health. This practice can be utilized to reduce stress levels, enhance overall well-being and support the functioning of the immune system. Taking into consideration an individual approach to the patient, forest bathing can be one of the methods of preventive medicine, especially in the context of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders, and can also support pharmacological therapy for conditions such as hypertension, depression, and sleep disorders. However, further research into this topic is needed

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