The FOREST BATHING or "Shinrin Yoku" is a scientifically studied practice born in Japan and is very common in some countries of the Far East, where it plays a big role in preventive medicine: walking and exploring the woods with certain biological characteristics reduces stress and depression, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and affects our immune system, increasing its functionality. In fact, while it is well known that walking or stay in the nature certainly plays a positive role on the organism, a forests can have an action even more effective on our health if its plants are capable of releasing particular volatile substances from foliage - the monoterpenes or phytoncides - particularly effective in positively stimulating the immune system, as evidenced by the long experienced protocols of many Japanese researchers.
Marco Nieri (bio-researcher) and Marco Mencagli (agronomist) are italian professionals collaborating to learn more about Forest Bathing and Forest Medicine, quite new disciplines in Europe, with multidisciplinary studies and original research particularly about the Mediterranean vegetation. In 2014 they carried out a specific study on the vegetation of the High Valsessera at Oasi Zegna (Biella-Italy), realizing the first science-based programs of Forest Bathing in Europe, particularly effective in positively stimulating the immune system and reduce the blood levels of cortisol (stress hormone)-
This study identified 3 paths, using existing hiking trails, which allow you to inhale sufficient quantities of monoterpenes to strengthen the immune system. The trail are then enriched of beneficial areas to rest with Bioenergetic Landscapes applications and Therapeutic Landscape evaluations taking into account the most extensive knowledge and research in the field of environmental psychology.This technique can be applied also in other woods and forests, as long as they possess adequate emission levels of monoterpenes and favorable local conditions that must be specifically studied on the spot.
To practice the Forest Bathing at Oasi Zegna simply follow freely the three selected paths from June to September, the period of maximum foliation of beeches, particularly rich in these beneficial substances, relaxing or walking in the woods and consciously enjoying the natural beauty, listening and observing what is around us. Studies have shown that three days of this practice give great benefits: 3/4 hours a day in the woods, alternating walking with stops along the trails, produce effects that can extend up to a month. If you do not have 3 days available, 5 km in 4 hours still produce a stimulus - although more limited - in our immune system with effects that could last up to a week.
These pathways, part of which includes the "Smiling Forest" or Bosco del Sorriso, play a vital stimulus for strong action at both mental and physical level, framing this work in an innovative concept of Forest Therapy.
New realizations of Forest bathing paths are in progress in several italian forests, studying the exact biological characteristic of the different species of trees and their positive volatile emission.
As expert researchers, we professionally train the forestry and environmental guides in the field of forest bathing and forest therapy.