The Mint Blog

Forest Bathing for Stress Management

Don’t Let Stress Make You Sick!

Have you heard of Forest Bathing, Grounding or Earthing??

Hi Everyone,
We hope you had a great Thanksgiving with friends and family and got a chance to enjoy the beautiful, more-seasonal weather that we have had. Dr. Buchert and I both had a chance to enjoy the outdoors on the long holiday weekend, and we both came back to the office feeling rejuvenated and energetic. What is it about being in nature that helps to recharge us?? Did you know that this is actually a thing, using nature to recharge and re-calibrate?? It is called Forest Bathing, and this is not just some kooky Functional Medicine thing; you can hear people talking about Forest Bathing in the big news too!
Let me shed some (sun)light on this for you 😊
I know outdoorsy stuff is not necessarily for everyone; you don’t have to get muddy, or necessarily risk crossing paths with insects, snakes, and animals of other sorts to get the benefits of being in nature. Even if you live in the middle of the city, there are still opportunities to connect with nature. Forest Bathing is about taking the time to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment as if you were doing prayer and meditation; by doing this, you can clear the clutter from your mind, and disconnect from the rat race that we are often sometimes barely keeping up with.


Forest Bathing and Grounding

Forest Bathing is actually a great therapy for stress relief. Who isn’t stressed these days?? Most of us unfortunately are, whether it is self-induced or from a situation that you can’t quite change at this time. People spend a lot of money on health related effects of stress; a 2015 study found stress from work alone accounted for up to $190 billion in health care costs…. Geeze!! Being in nature and taking in the smell of the air, the birds that are flying, the richness of the color of the foliage, helps lower cortisol levels and gets you into a more meditative zone that is healing for your body. But not only does forest bathing improve the bodies stress response, it also helps with improving mood and immune function. It seems crazy to say this, but what if spending more time in nature was in part of your flu-fighting arsenal!? Other benefits that make sense when you think about the body’s stress-mediated responses improving are that forest bathers are having improvement in high blood pressure. In Japan, where the term “forest bathing” was coined, research is being done monitoring all of these above things mentioned.
Let’s face it, most of us are spending too much time indoors. I know very few people that are outdoors enough, and to make this worse, we are tethered to electronics, and inundated with wifi exposure (this is a topic I am eager to write about in a future post). We, as human beings, have electrical processes going on in our bodies continuously! We cannot survive without this. Examples of this can be seen when you are having an EKG of your heart or an EEG of your brain.
I’m sure it is not your first time to hear that chronic diseases are on the rise, as well as over-all increases in inflammation and immune issues (cancer and auto-immunity are big immune system problems). A lot of people link environmental changes as a big contributing factor for these health-related issues. We are having too much of our “new” and unhealthy environment which is filled with chemicals, artificial light, electromagnetic fields, fake-foods and junk foods. Just like the majority of “natural” foods also lack a healthy and natural environment in which it is grown.
We are getting too much “bad” environment and not enough of “good” environment!!! (Functional Medicine considers this in the healing process.)
So taking Forest Bathing a step farther! Have you heard of Grounding or Earthing? I’m not talking about being “grounded” in your beliefs, or “grounding” your computer with a surge protector. I’m talking about connecting your skin, like the soles of your feet, to the ground’s dirt or grass!! This is actually important, and modern life separates us from this connection! When is the last time you walked barefoot outside? Reconnecting with the Earth has been found to promote positive physiological changes (like improved sleep and reduction in pain) as well as subjective reports of well-being by somehow helping to rebalance our electrical patterns.
Find a pretty park, a wooded piece of property or a pretty lake or beach and just chill! For example- Brec Parks. Take a leisurely walk in nature, or lay back and bask in the sun. If you can’t escape noise from traffic or other chatty humans around you, you could even consider putting on some nature back ground noise from your smart phone as long as you won’t be tempted to check Facebook, text messages, etc.
Make time for this! It really is easy and rewarding. Trade out Forest Bathing and Grounding with a not so healthy habit in your life like spending too much time in front of the TV or literally mindlessly browsing Facebook, or even over-cleaning your house, and you will be better equipped to handle life’s stress and the holiday stressors that are approaching. Your body and mind will thank you!
There are so many things (nutrition, sleep, relaxation, relationships, and more) that our body needs to be healthy, strong, and functioning at it’s best.
As the New Year is approaching, you may already be thinking about ways you want to have a healthier and happier you and also ways you want to help your family members or influence friends! I encourage you to include getting more in-tune with your body as one of your New Year’s resolutions (but you don’t have to wait until the New Year to start). At Mint Health , we are always looking into ways to help you maximize your health and get more in touch with yourself and your body! If you aren’t already a part of our Functional Medicine practice, I encourage you to come in for an eval! Dr. Buchert and I love helping you to reach your health goals!!! We are truly passionate about health and wellness, and reversing disease (we see this happen all the time). Yes, it does take some extra effort, but it is well worth it, because what we don’t face now, inevitably comes back to bite us!! I had someone tell me yesterday that her Christmas present to herself is to get a Functional Medicine work-up with us! I love that idea! Click on the link below to get started!
You may also want to take a minute to look at what some of our patients have to say HERE !
And if you have missed some of our previous write-ups, you can access these HERE!
We hope you have a wonderful day and that this gives you a jump start to some New Year’s resolution planning!
Renee NP and the Mint Health Team

Sidney Kate Favorite

*Roasted purple sweet potato (I usually can only find these at Whole Foods)
*Organic Blue Berries(cooked, fresh or frozen, but you actually get more nutrients out of cooked with this particular fruit)
Mash with a couple of tablespoons of bone broth (I freeze bone broth in stainless steel ice cube trays & grab a cube when needed) & a tsp or 2 of fermented grass-fed ghee or cold pressed, unfiltered organic olive oil


Dr. BuchertForest Bathing for Stress Management

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