Summary: ‘‘Shinrin-yoku’’, which can be defined as ‘‘taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing’’, has been receiving increasing attention in Japan in recent years for its capacity to provide relaxation and reduce stress. Since 2004, a team of Japanese researchers (Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park and Yoshifumi Miyazaki) have been involved in an investigation designed to ascertain the physiological effects of
‘‘Shinrin-yoku’’ within the framework of the ‘‘Therapeutic Effects of Forests’’ project. The researchers have conducted physiological experiments, both in actual forests and in the laboratory, to elucidate the physiological effects on individuals of exposure to the total environment of forests or to only certain elements of this environment, such as the odor of wood, the sound of running stream water, and the scenery of the forest. They have obtained physiological measurements of central nervous activity, autonomic nervous activity, and bio-markers reflecting stress response that can be applied in this
line of approach. Using these measurements, they have summarized the separate elements of forests in terms of the five senses. They have also reviewed a selection of field studies and introduced a number of results from ongoing projects as well as those from early studies.
The above is a summary of the paper “Trends in research related to Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan” by Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park and Yoshifumi Miyazaki.