Visiting nature for therapeutic benefit has become popular in Japan. The concept is known as Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. A study of 280 healthy Japanese, published in January 2010, showed that a few hours’ walk through a forest or wooded area resulted in “lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure” than a comparable walk through city streets. Other studies have shown “visiting parks and forests seems to raise the levels of white blood cells.” (The New York Times, July 6, 2010.)

Who knew? Good health is just a walk in the woods away!

Closing quotes:

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” — John Muir, “John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir”; Edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (University of Wisconsin Press, 1938, republished 1979)

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” — Standing Bear

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.”
— George Gordon, Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”