Cheryl kimball’s nature talks just in case we forgot how important the forest is new hampshire causes of blood cancer in hindi

I enjoy both the city and the country. I love city life for its easy access to cultural things like museums and galleries and ready interactions between strangers and a wide selection of ethnic restaurants. But I also love the country especially when I have the ability to walk out my door and take a mile-long walk in my “own” woods.

My childhood and my father’s influence likely led me to lean in favor of the country. And according to a new book, published just last week by Viking called the “Japanese Art and Science of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness” by Dr. Qing Li, my choice is likely a healthy one. That said, one of the remarkable statistics quoted in the book is that, according to the United Nations Population Division, “The urban population worldwide grew from just 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014.


By 2050, 75 percent of the world’s projected 9 billion population will live in cities. The average American now spends 93 percent of their time indoors … ”

According to the Japanese concept of forest bathing, called “shinrin-yoku,” even a small amount of time in nature can have a positive impact on our health. “Data shows that shinrin-yoku can reduce blood pressure, lower blood-sugar levels, improve energy and increase anti-cancer protein production.” I suspect that result is more from the fact that being an almost 100 percent outdoor creature is how the human species started out in this world; our bodies expect, are designed to be outside to be healthy. And really, what was “inside” until the most recent few thousand years — a cave? Today we would consider being in a cave being outside.

Dr. Qing Li’s book is full of lovely photos and interesting facts about Japan and the world and our relationship, or not, to the outdoors. Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that “78 percent of Japanese now live in the city — Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya” — still “two-thirds of Japan is covered in forest.” Three thousand miles of it, in fact. There is a tree on Yakushima island that is one of the oldest trees in the world. This Jomon sugi tree is between 2,000 and 5,000 years old. Here in the United States, if some nonprofit group wasn’t protecting that tree around the clock, it would probably have already been hacked up into a family of chainsaw bears.

This book is not as much a how-to as a how-why and where-to. As is often typical, the rest of the world is ahead of the United States in the formal use of such natural wisdom — “New Zealand has long boasted a ‘green prescription’ scheme” prescribing time in nature instead of a pill — but the United States isn’t completely in the dark. After a 2015 call to action by the U.S. Surgeon General to promote walking and walkable communities, the National ParkRx Day initiative was created to, according to the website parkrx.org, promote the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to promote human health. National ParkRx Day this year falls on Sunday (April 29), the last day of National Park Week. It may be too late to plan a trip to a national park to celebrate (in New Hampshire the Appalachian Trail and Saint-Gaudens in Cornish are run by the National Park Service), but any nature walk would be a celebration.

My 13-year-old Labrador retriever is helping me appreciate the basic concepts of shinrin-yoku without knowing it: slow down (arthritis in your knees, as Pellie has, makes you do that naturally); use all of your senses (or at least the ones you have left — Pellie is considerably deaf and has some vision limitations); notice things (the dog’s whiffer is working 110 percent); stay a while (hard not to when you can’t move very fast); and sit here and there, which I do so the dogs can have time to sniff around and I scan the tree canopy with my binoculars.

This aging dog is a poster child for the health benefits of forest bathing. On yesterday’s walk, he brought along his stuffed duck as he likes to do, which he abandoned at a crossroads, which he also likes to do. After our full loop around our woods we came back to the junction and the duck. I picked it up. A few steps down the trail, old Pellie was yanking it out of my hand, trotting with the duck, squeaking its squeaker, and doing a bit of gamboling with it up the trail. Shinrin-yoku in action. Veterinarians often say that keeping an older dog trim and active (and of course regular veterinary checkups) are among the best things for good aging. Pellie, and I, were reaping the benefits from one of those green prescriptions.