When University of Washington social scientist Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D., needs a break, she rides her bike through the gardens of Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often ending up at the Washington Park Arboretum. It’s a trip she takes to experience “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yoku, the name Japanese researchers have given to the experience of spending time in naturalistic green spaces at a contemplative pace. Studies in Japan have found health benefits for people who forest bathe, including reduced depression and improved immune system response.
Wolf knows this research well, because her own work is focused on how people experience nature in cities, including the human health and economic benefits of the urban forest—the phrase used to describe the trees and understory plants in a city. Forest bathing aside, research shows our health is boosted by having access to urban trees and other nature.
Read more in Seattle Magazine’s October 2017 issue, HERE