In the Nature as Therapy group of CN&N Christine Hohlbaum notes in her Nature as Healer comment: "It is my understanding (and my own experience) that nature has many healing properties. . . For instance, it has been scientifically proven that taking a walk in the forest can boost your immune system."
This process known in Japanese as“Shinrin-yoku”(defined as “forest bathing“ or taking in the forest atmosphere) was examined in a 2010 Japanese study that found elements of the environment, such as the odor of wood, the sound of running stream water, and the scenery of the forest can provide relaxation and reduce stress; those taking part in the study experienced lower levels of cortisol, a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure.
It's not surprising that this study would be done in Japan -- where activities with nature therapy components are often integrated into everyday settings.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair -- Kahlil Gibran
For example, stepping on bamboo, called "takefumi" in Japanese ("ta-ke" means bamboo and "fumi" meaning to step upon), is a very popular & unique form of health maintenance practiced for ages in the Far East.
In addition, in some of our nature therapy practices we often have the opportunity to include an animal-assist component, such as when our resident desert tortoise (Kahlani) demonstrates the proper pace to walk a set of cobblestones.
These practices underscore simple ways in which nature can be integrated into every day experience to regain a natural equilibrium.
One illustration: Modern Research Indicates Green Bamboo (about one to two years old) is best. Why? A young bamboo tree is quite adept at absorbing energy from its surroundings, and the energy reflects in healing and or naturally aligning your health condition.
To perceive this, notice how snow melts around new-growth trees when Spring comes.
There are several explanations for this: 1) the heat from the sun has accumulated within the tree. 2) findings show a young tree radiates infrared rays and other subtle energies, causing the snow to melt.
Curiously, the tortoise in our garden example purposely made several passes only over the cobblestone walkway that contained small magnets (under a limited portion of the stones). This also happens to be the clinical path that is used to arrest certain "freezing" and dystonia reactions that sometimes afflicts people that have been given a Parkinson's diagnosis.