No one will say the opposite, trees are majestic woody plants. It is always pleasant to admire their splendor as well as to enjoy their freshness. However, many people don't know it, but the benefits of trees don't stop with their looks! Indeed, these wonders of nature are also excellent remedies for many human ailments. Let's discover together the virtues of trees through silvotherapy!


What is Sylvotherapy?

Silvotherapy, sometimes called "green medicine", is a discipline still little known. It is therefore quite likely that you have never heard the term. However, this type of treatment is particularly interesting. Let's take a closer look at what it consists of...

Silvotherapy could simply be defined by the fact that it involves treating oneself in contact with nature, and more specifically with trees. In other words, silvotherapy uses the therapeutic virtues of trees to alleviate various physical and psychological ailments.


An ancestral practice

Let's make a little history together: the word "sylvotherapy" comes from the Latin "sylva" which means "forest". It comes from an ancestral practice known in different countries of the world, and is, among others, part of the great principles of naturopathy.

Particularly famous in Japan, sylvotherapy enjoys an official status under the local name of "shinrin-yoku" which could be translated as "forest bath". Nearly 68 "shinrin-yoko" centers have opened their doors in the country!

In the Western world, this technique remains rather marginal, although it is more and more used. One finds all the same traces of it formerly. Aristotle already spoke of the benefits of nature and trees. He claimed that the leaves had chromatic properties.

In the 19th century, the sick also benefited from walks in the forest as a treatment. Indeed, at the time, there was a lot of talk about aerotherapy, and it was thought that nature played a major role in the healing of mankind.

Moreover, sylvotherapy could be based on interesting scientific data, including the work of Professor Miyazaki. Indeed, researchers have indeed demonstrated that a simple walk in the forest could have real positive impacts on the human body and mind.




How is sylvotherapy practiced?

Of course, sylvotherapy can take many different forms. Depending on the context and the therapist, it will not always be practiced in the same way. There are different exercises to be practiced in the field of sylvotherapy.

However, most of the time, silvotherapy consists of an immersion in the forest with a therapeutic objective. It is therefore a question of plunging fully into the heart of a forest area, and taking hold of it through all one's senses.

During this therapeutic immersion, there is direct physical contact with certain trees. We often talk about "hugging the trees". Although this definition may be a little reductive, it is indeed a question of hugging the trees to benefit from them.

At the same time, other techniques are also used. For example, it can be about sitting in the hollow of a tree, or walking in the forest in full consciousness, taking full time to feel the ground under your feet or the air in your lungs.

Also, in silvotherapy, not all trees are the same. Each tree, according to its species, or sometimes even according to its energy, benefits from different virtues. Thus, each patient will not necessarily be able to "connect" to just any tree.

Note that silvotherapy aims not only to cure certain diseases, but also sometimes simply to preserve one's health or increase one's well-being. Each patient, depending on his or her personal problems, may practice silvotherapy for various purposes.


What are the therapeutic virtues of trees?

As you will have understood, silvotherapy is a therapy based on the therapeutic virtues of trees. However, concretely, what are these virtues? Therefore, who is silvotherapy intended for? Let's now see what our friends the trees can bring us...

Reduce stress levels

It is no secret that we live in a society where stress is a major issue. According to statistics, nearly 80% of medical consultations are directly or indirectly related to stress. The figure is impressive!

For good reason, the modern world imposes a fast-paced lifestyle on us. In the infernal spiral of the metro-work-to-sleep system, everyone spends their time running all day long. The body tries as best it can to maintain its balance.

Faced with this situation, forest baths are particularly recommended. Indeed, walking in the forest and being in contact with the trees is ideal to reduce the stress of everyday life. Studies have even shown that walking in the forest reduces the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.

For good reason, the air in the forest contains phytoncides, volatile substances emitted by trees to fight bacteria and fungi. The latter have very positive effects on the human body. Among other things, they regulate salivary cortisol.

To regain a serene state of mind, do not hesitate to take regular walks in the forest. For a few hours, turn off your cell phone and enjoy the calm offered by the surrounding nature. You will come out of it much calmer!

The advantage is all the more that the positive effects of forest baths are long-lasting. Far from existing only in the present moment, they can persevere for several weeks after contact with the trees. It is therefore a real therapeutic solution.

Reduce the risk of disease

According to recent research by Dr. Quing Li, a renowned immunologist, a forest bath could reduce the risk of various diseases, including cancer. This is again explained by the presence of phytoncides.

The presence of phytoncides increases NK cells by almost 50%. NK cells, called Natural Killers cells, are innate lymphocytes of the immune system that are capable of killing tumor cells and infected cells.

As a result of the increase in NK cells, the risk of various diseases, including cancers and other infectious diseases, is significantly reduced. Similarly, these cells can help healing when the body is already suffering from a disease.

To simply summarize, trees are the perfect natural elements to boost the immune system, thus allowing the body to better defend itself against undesirable elements. Silvotherapy is therefore both preventive and curative!

Fighting depression

Depression is not just a passing depression. It is a real illness that affects morale and the perception of life in the long term, and in a profound way. However, it is possible to get out of depression! Depression is not inevitable.

A long walk in the woods also has many benefits in the face of depression. Studies have shown that people living close to trees and nature suffer less from depression than people living in urban areas.

In general, silvotherapy has interesting effects on mood. Japanese researchers conducted research on this subject on 500 people. They concluded that immersion in the forest improves general well-being and vitality.

Without a doubt, green spaces play a fundamental role in our happiness! The fact that man is cut off from nature is, moreover, one of the great scourges of our contemporary societies. This link to nature is essential for our mental health.




Protect the cardiovascular system

The cardiovascular system allows the proper transport of blood to the heart. The proper functioning of the cardiovascular system is therefore essential to human health. Unfortunately, cardiovascular disorders are commonplace in a society of excesses.

Between poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol, obesity, or chronic stress, cardiovascular disorders have various origins. It is important to know that, in the face of these, silvotherapy can be useful.

In fact, forest baths help to lower blood pressure and thus improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system. According to some studies, men suffering from high blood pressure have regained normal blood pressure after a forest bath.

For good reason, their systolic blood pressure went from 140.1 mmHg to 123 mmHg in just a few hours and their diastolic blood pressure from 84.4 mmHg to 76.6 mmHg. In other words, the candidates had regained a threshold similar to that obtained with medication!


Breathe clean air

It is well known that the air in the city is increasingly polluted. Pollution has a significant negative impact on our health. In the long term, it can even lead to various illnesses, including chronic or serious diseases.

One of the undeniable benefits of a forest bath is also the cleanliness of the air. Indeed, forests are places preserved from pollution. Not only because many urban sources of pollution do not exist in the forest, but also because of the action of the trees!

Did you know that? Trees are capable of absorbing by their very presence a large part of the toxic particles in the air. They produce oxygen and fix more than half of the finest and most harmful particles in our bodies.

Opting for an immersion in the forest is therefore above all opting for a healthier environment. Thanks to silvotherapy, your lungs are deeply replenished. It's not for nothing that we talk about taking "a breath of fresh air".

The list is not exhaustive! The benefits mentioned are the most well known in the field of sylvotherapy. However, there are probably as many reasons to practice silvotherapy as there are human beings!




Are there any contraindications to silvotherapy?

Silvotherapy is a safe practice. Silvotherapy is a therapeutic technique that has the advantage of being risk-free and without side effects. Everyone can therefore practice silvotherapy at any age and under any circumstances.

You can also practice silvotherapy as much as you wish. There is no such thing as overdose! It is therefore as well possible to take forest baths every day as once a month, according to one's desires and possibilities of the moment.

Knowing how to remain vigilant in physical contact with the trees. However, there is one point on which we must be vigilant. In silvotherapy, hugging a tree is a common practice. While there are many benefits, it must also be done with great care.

Indeed, contact with certain trees can be dangerous to health. This is explained, among other things, by the presence of moss and lichens on the trunks. These ecosystems, although fully natural, can be very irritating to the skin.

On the other hand, dangerous insects can be found on the trunk of a tree. For example, processionary caterpillars may have taken up residence there. The latter have extremely urticating and allergenic hairs. It is therefore better not to touch them!

Ticks also enjoy stagnating on trees. Although a tick bite is sometimes harmless, it can also transmit various bacteria that cause lyme disease. Lyme disease is an infectious disease that can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Before hugging a tree, it is therefore always best to take precautions. If you are new to the field, do not hesitate to practice silvotherapy with an experienced professional who will guide you, and save you some unpleasant surprises.


Conclusion on silvotherapy

Practiced since the dawn of time, sylvotherapy is a care technique with multiple benefits. Immersion in the forest and contact with the trees offer the body many physical and psychological benefits. And you, have you ever practiced silvotherapy? If so, do not hesitate to share your experience with us!