Hugging the trees: the benefits of Sylvotherapy

- Célia Jeandel

Hugging the trees: the benefits of Sylvotherapy

The art of hugging trees.

Reducing stress, anxiety and negative moments is the basis of the well-being that people seek every day. These three components of modern life must be managed in the best possible way so that they do not affect our daily activities. The rhythm of modern life has a significant impact on the psychophysical balance of individuals: in particular, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of the stress that we have to face every day. Forest therapy is certainly one of the simplest and most intuitive activities to improve these increasingly important parameters for happiness and well-being.

We spend too much time in the office, in front of screens with artificial light : all the conditions that make us feel eccentric, tired, and bored. To prevent further problems, silvotherapy can be a welcome solution. Interacting with nature in nature is one of the best tools for improving your health.
But to what extent does a walk in the forest really improve our mood and that of those around us?

What is silvotherapy? Definition.

Sylvotherapy was born from the observation of a correlation between the growing existential, individual and social malaise, and the increase in environmental degradation, alongside the rapid process of urbanization which has radically modified lifestyles and the habits of a large part of the world's population. Born in Japan, sylvotherapy is developing in the West, particularly in Switzerland, or even in Belgium where training in the form of an internship is available. In France, the regions most active in silvotherapy are Alsace and the Vosges.

The hidden power of trees, Youtube video

This consists of direct contact with the trunks of these large plants . The technique is very simple: the back is placed on the trunk, the palm of the right hand is placed on the solar plexus which corresponds to the mouth of the stomach and the back of the left hand is placed in contact with the kidneys. Clearly, you are going to hug trees . In this position, you breathe slowly and deeply for about twenty minutes. Among the benefits, there appears to be a marked improvement in nervousness and insomnia. The explanation lies in the production of negative ions from trees: the negative ionization of the air creates a general feeling of bodily relaxation, leads to detoxification and improvement of breathing, as well as an increase in assimilation vitamins B and C, and a higher level of concentration.

Tree trunk and young shoot

Because green is good for your health: silvotherapy, the beneficial power of trees.

Although it has not been conclusively proven what exactly it is about outdoor excursions, scientific research on the subject of forest therapy is growing and confirms the link between time spent in nature and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
A study carried out in 2015, for example, compared the brain activity of a sample of people after 90 minutes of walking in a natural or urban environment. They found that those who walked in green spaces had less activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that activates the rumination phase - where people tend to repeat their thoughts and focus on emotions negative.

If people are depressed or under excessive stress, this part of the brain does not function well, and the risk is to experience a continuous cycle of negative thoughts. Additionally, it appears that interacting with green spaces provides other therapeutic benefits . For example, by enjoying the sounds of nature or the silence outdoors, you can lower your blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Once you have figured out how to enjoy wild therapy, it is important to understand how to administer nature therapy yourself in order to experience daily life to the fullest.

Well-being while walking among the trees

How does silvotherapy work? Which tree to choose?

It takes 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week, plus a few weekends a month in the woods to get out into nature . It’s about making interactions with nature an integral part of the lifestyle. Time spent in nature in its entirety has many beneficial effects, regardless of the activity in which it takes place: a daily walk in a park or a Saturday afternoon on a local trail, as well as running on a trail... You can combine hiking in nature with regular outdoor walking or cycling exercise, and the choice of environment you are immersed in is important for the benefits you can obtain. Whether it is a park or a wood outside the city , the important thing is to concentrate on the places considered the most pleasant and most conducive to activities, with the stated aim of moving away from overly stimulating urban environments and always surrounded by greenery and nature: meadows, trees, lakes prepare you best to detach yourself and get rid of waste.

Forest bathing will bring you:

  • A microclimate with gentler temperature curves.
  • air enriched with native oxygen (there is 3 times more oxygen produced by the temperate forest than by a meadow).
  • air naturally enriched with essential oils , for example terpenes and phytoncides, antibiotic molecules naturally secreted by trees to defend themselves against their pathogens.

The choice of tree is secondary in silvotherapy . Which tree to choose? A tree has a trunk wide enough to embrace it. An oak, beech or even a fir can easily do the trick.

Get better thanks to trees with silvotherapy, Youtube video

Sylvotherapy, to be done alone or in a group?

The good thing is that you don't need to do your own solo excursions, but having this experience with friends does not affect the final outcome of the activity. A 2014 study found that walking in a group in nature is as effective as hiking alone in reducing depression and stress and improving overall mental health. Nature can have a powerful effect on our mental state and there are many ways to use it.

Couple sitting on a tree in nature

Sylvotherapy, what are the benefits? Discover the energetic power of trees.

More energy:

Walking in nature or watching the sunset helps us improve our mood and energy. Nature is the fuel of the soul. Those who organize outdoor activities on weekends are more refreshed at the start of the week than those who spend hours on the sofa or in front of the television

Stress reduction:

in contact with nature, cortisol, the famous stress hormone, reduces its devastating effects on the body. The result is an invigorated and strengthened immune system.

Memory improvement:

Symptoms of dementia are alleviated by increased contact with green spaces . In clinics, they strive to achieve precisely this type of benefit. Being outside increases memory by 20%. The calm and vital energy you breathe allows memories to emerge more easily and improves the functioning of cognitive faculties. It is recommended to study outside.

Development of creativity:

Children who used to spend their free time outdoors develop a strong connection with the earth and its beauty. They are curious children with fervent imaginations.

Happy woman in nature

In conclusion...

The benefits of Mother Nature on the human condition are numerous . This is demonstrated by certain meta-analyses which demonstrate that exposure, even of short duration in nature (fifteen minutes), is linked to an increase in the levels of positive effects and a reduction in the levels of negative effects. In fact, research has consistently demonstrated that contact with nature provides numerous psychological, cognitive and physiological benefits. In addition to the positive effects of contact with nature, this also shows that contact with nature results in a reduction in a wide range of negative emotions such as depression, aggression, anger, frustration, and l 'hostility.

Throughout history, people have been able to commune with the forest to derive great benefits. It is also common to wear wooden jewelry to maintain contact and remain in harmony with Nature.

Need to recharge? Put on your sneakers, head to the forest, it's time to hug the trees!

Also read:

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How to clean, recharge and purify your natural stone?

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