Within the medical community, there is growing evidence over what many of us already suspect – that time spent outdoors improves one’s state-of-mind and physical health. Some call this type of natural remedy “forest bathing,” and it’s become a hot wellness topic, even in urban environments.
At Tyler Arboretum, we all have our favorite forest trails. When I visit, I often head down the Rocky Run trail and, within minutes, my stress levels miraculously drop and general outlook improves. Why? Some would clearly say it’s a result of soaking up the environment, sights, sounds, and aromas of Tyler’s natural woodlands. Another theory is that this kind of exercise boosts production of brain chemicals like serotonin.
Another favorite walk of mine is to exit the fenced area at Gate 5 (Minshall Trail) and walk along the perimeter of the upper meadow, returning through gates 2 or 3. Here, I can enjoy the sights of birds, bugs, and waving grass, as well as the Downton Abbey-like ambience of this grand parkland. If not technically forest bathing, then it’s meadow-bathing and that’s close enough for me.
No less than WebMD has jumped on the forest bathing bandwagon with an entire article on the subject. We invite you to read up on the subject and think about the many ways the arboretum contributes to our well-being. Many volunteers and members would suggest that visitors to Tyler are already enjoying the benefits of forest bathing – whether they know it or not.