Forest Bathing in CREW’s Bird Rookery Swamp

Forest bathing is widely practiced for health reasons. The concept is simple:  to surround yourself in nature for the purpose of absorbing the healing properties of the forest. Adherents claim that it can lower blood pressure, slow the heart rate and reduce the levels of harmful hormones such as cortisol. Overall it has a calming effect.

But does it really work or is it the product of someone’s imagination? Research shows that the effects of forest bathing are real and demonstrable. A Russian scientist began to study forest bathing in the 1920’s, working on the theory that the “aromas of the forest” strengthen our immune systems. Subsequent study has shown that trees emit an organic, antimicrobial volatile compound that our bodies absorb and which reduces inflammation and helps us fight off germs.

So how to practice forest bathing? First, find a peaceful wooded area where you can linger for 20 minutes daily. When you enter that quiet forest, walk slowly and stop often, listening and observing. This is not a time for your daily jog – vigorous exercise defeats the purpose. Instead immerse your senses in the sights and sounds of nature while you’re absorbing that healthy aroma of the forest. The nearby presence of water enhances the effect.

Of interest to those of us who live in southwest Florida, modern research has determined that the trees which give us the greatest benefits in forest bathing are all varieties of cypress trees. CREW’s Bird Rookery Swamp Trail is an ideal place to practice forest bathing. Surrounded by cypress trees and plenty of water, you leave feeling refreshed.     

By a CREW Trust Volunteer

4 Replies to “Forest Bathing in CREW’s Bird Rookery Swamp”

  1. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world . I like to say my husband & I have been as far north as the Arctic Circle & as far south as Argentina …. also crossed the Continental Divide four times !! The thing we always came back to were the national parks of U.S. & Canada . Why ,you may ask … because most of the joy for us was to engage in ” Forest Bathing ” !! As we traveled the park ( each having their own special magic ) we’d stop to breath in the pure air of water ,pine, flowers . Looking around ,as we sat on a rock or grass , we’d discuss how green one section was or the tall trees & ” why did they only grow here “. Reading about Forest Bathing brought back such wonderful memories . We often said the natural beauty that surrounds us every day in what makes life happy & joyous . I’m so glad I came upon reading about Forest Bathing !!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and those kind words. I’ll be sure to pass along this message to the volunteer that wrote this blog article. We agree with you 100% that it is the natural beauty surrounding us everyday that makes life happy & joyous!

  2. I would certainly like to visit Crew..Unfortunately I have developed orthopedic problems requiring the use of an electric motorized chair.. It has ‘large’ tires , capable of moving on grassy or firm soil.. It is capable of 8 hrs of travel at slow(<1-2 mph}. Would the administration of this Natural Wonder allow such a trans port to proceed on this trail. We do visit "Corkscrew preserve" easily,,

    If so ,do you have a more detailed map on how to get there…

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