Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Stress may be ubiquitous, but its solutions are not. Time spent in nature for recreation and restoration has deep historical and cultural roots throughout the world. The eddies and swirls of seasonal winds, the fractal branching of trees, the low murmur of streams, and the Fibonacci structure of flower petals all provide conscious and unconscious cues that settle the addled mind. The ordered complexity found in natural environments is key to their intelligibility and, indeed, enduring allure.

In this article, authors Julia Africa, Yuko Tsunetsugu, and Hui Wang explore the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. It's the practice of walking in natural landscapes to improve health.

Photo by Flickr | Agustin Rafael Reyes | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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