We all know that wandering about in a forest or by the sea is good for us. But what you probably don’t know is that it results in significant, measurable changes to the immune system.
I came across this fascinating article from the Townsend Newsletter the other day, which really puts the benefits into scientific perspective.
Their focus in the piece is on how spending time doing ‘nature-based’ activities and therapies increases natural immune activity and reduces stress in breast cancer patients specifically. Women with breast cancer who experienced eg. forest bathing, had significant measurable improvements in parts of the immune system known for attacking tumours.
.…findings show an intensive up-regulation of the tumor-fighting capacity of the immune system.
Elevated blood concentration of NK cells and their “cytotoxic arsenal” of perforin and granzyme enzymes14 remained for more than 30 days after a single forest exposure, leading to much interest in FT as a complementary addition to cancer treatment and prevention.
That’s big news – for all of us. It’s applicable whether or not we have cancer. In fact, it could be regarded as an excellent cancer prevention technique!
All of the benefits of NBT mentioned above exist for anyone spending time in nature, whether they are participants in a scientific study or not. As evidence of this, there are some large-scale epidemiological investigations that show proximity to nature may be preventive or protective against breast cancer….
There was a:
…large-scale study in Japan using the entire National Health System data set of ~126 million people, which revealed a highly significant inverse correlation between residential proximity to a forest and a woman’s risk of having diagnosed breast cancer.
OK, so that’s correlation, not causation, but even so. 126 million people. It’s not going to be wrong, is it?! Moral of the story: get out in nature as often as you can, even if it’s a local park, a green space nearby and not a forest. It will do you good – scientifically proven!
Besides, Autumn the time of mellow fruitfulness and crunchy leaves is coming. I LOVE Autumn!