Taking a walk does our mind and body good. Now there is research that says where we walk can make a difference. Spending time in natural settings has been studied extensively by Japanese researchers – and has prompted several Japanese companies to include “forest therapy” in employee health care benefits and wellness programs. One study found that spending time in woodland settings was linked to lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), lower blood pressure, slower heart rates, and feelings of relaxation. “The benefits of forest therapy are difficult to fully explain, but green scenery, soothing sounds of streams and waterfalls and aromas of wood, plants and flowers in these complex ecosystems likely all play a part,” says Sarah Cimperman, N.D., a naturopathic doctor in New York City. “Forest therapy is a good example of how our own health is dependent on the health of our natural environment. It’s also an excellent reason to go for a walk in the woods.”

So how can you reap some of the benefits of a woodland walk, without going there? Cimperman suggests creating a green environment in your home, by keeping houseplants and listening to nature CDs. “Houseplants are also good for our health because they help clean the air, filtering out harmful chemicals.” Top detoxifiers include Boston fern, English ivy, moth orchid, dendrobium orchid, ficus, peace lily, spider plant, and several types of dracaena……. Natural Health  January/February   2013

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