Warum tut uns der Wald so gut? - NIKIN EU

Why is the forest so good for us?

The world's forests are burning. Countless ecosystems and their flora and fauna are destroyed within a very short space of time - in some cases nature recovers from this, but this takes time. Forests give us so much and that is why they must be protected.

The world's forests are burning. Countless ecosystems and their flora and fauna are destroyed within a very short space of time - in some cases nature recovers from this, but this takes time. Forests give us so much and that is why they must be protected.

Forest

For Europeans, forests are nature par excellence. Most of us know the value of forests, their contribution to producing oxygen and neutralizing harmful CO2. Forests store water, protect the soil from erosion and provide us with wood, nuts and fruits. However, city dwellers in particular spend far too little time in the forest.

Even the first step into the shade of the trees is a relief. The filtered, gentle sunlight, the scent of bark, leaves and needles, the thousands of shades of green - a deep breath and relaxation sets in.

We almost always feel refreshed after a walk in the forest, and the words like “newborn” are often used – but how does the forest do that?

How does the forest affect our health?

Research has known for a long time: the forest strengthens our immune system. With every stay we do more good for the body's own protective mechanisms and help the immune system to cope with stress, high blood pressure and diabetes. Even the elimination of cancer cells in the early stages is promoted by a regular breath of forest air. Not to mention the impact on our mental balance. Because the forest calms you down. After just a short time it can be proven that the stress hormone cortisol present in the blood is significantly reduced.

Scent therapy in the forest

How does the forest do this? We now know that trees release scents and even communicate with each other using terpenes. And we breathe that in too. Breathing deeply in the forest for less than half an hour lowers the cortisol level in the blood. If high levels are sustained, for example due to constant stress, the adrenal hormone damages the body's self-healing mechanisms and promotes cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression. The forest counteracts this.

In Japan, the therapeutic value of the forest is now even considered a recognized medical measure. “Forest bathing” has long been part of the treatment there for both chronic and acute illnesses. And awareness of the value of nature is also growing in Europe. Just looking at a single tree or an avenue can cheer up city dwellers and increase the quality of life.

Forest

Off to the forest – and then?

A walk in the forest always has something to offer, regardless of the season. And of course every forest has its own atmosphere; deciduous forests differ from coniferous forests, tree stands in the mountains from forests on rivers or in the lowlands.

Japanese “forest bathing”, i.e. consciously perceiving and engaging in the forest habitat, can also be successful without instructions. All you need is open eyes. Then you take details such as the shape of leaves, trunks or cones, observe animal tracks or discover initially inconspicuous small plants on the side of the path.

Designated areas of the forest can also be used for sports, such as jogging, and treetop paths invite you to climb safely. Some communities occasionally offer guided hikes, for example through the Alpine Club, and children can also learn something about the forest at such events.

Live and let live for sustainable use of the forest

If you want to introduce your little ones to the joys of a walk in the forest, you should above all remember that you behave carefully - that is, don't leave any litter, stay on the paths, and don't make any noise. Animals and plants want one thing above all from visitors: their peace and quiet. That's why you should only pick up wilted leaves or fallen cones, but don't pick or eat anything. It is better to leave wild animals, even what appear to be individual young animals, alone - the mother is usually just waiting for you to move away again. If you want to collect mushrooms in the forest, you should make sure that and where this is permitted and have the yield checked.

Forest

Discover the forest – and get healthy

Our conclusion: Forests have a lot to give us. Even a short walk is noticeably good for us. That's why we at NIKIN are committed to protecting the world's forests, our native trees as well as the large, rich tropical forests in Asia, Africa, South America and currently Australia. Get to know our forests better and join in!

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