- Boosts your immune system - When studying the effects of Shinrin-Yuko (forest bathing), researchers in Japan discovered the power of phytoncides. Phytoncides are the smells emitted by trees. While some phytoncides can irritate asthma or allergies, many are found to have healing benefits. Quing Li, immunologist in Toyko, found phytoncides from evergreen trees can have a direct impact on the immune system. Specifically "turpenes, pinenes, limonese, and other essential oils emitted by evergreens and many other trees" (Williams) can boost natural killer cells in the body. Natural killer cells are a type of white blood cell that are handy to have around. They send self-destruct messages to tumors and virus-infected cells. It is easy to gain the benefits from phytoncides to boost your immune system while camping in New England because no matter where you go, evergreen trees are always close by!
- Detox from blue light - Whether camping in a tent or camper, people escape into the woods to unplug and enjoy the simple things. Blue light found in our computer screens, tech and artificial lighting stimulates the brain, creating disturbances in sleep and hormonal signaling. Unplugging from tech and artificial light reduces the blue light in your environment back to levels found in nature. Reducing blue light in combination with night time camp fires and oil based lamps for lighting allow your body to detox from non-native blue light, resulting in a better night sleep and recovery! If you are planning a camping trip, try and make a conscious effort to disconnect and leave the computer, cell phone and other gadgets at home or put away to give yourself the best chance to fully detox.
- Decreases stress - The natural world has a powerful affect on our nervous system and stress levels. A research team examined the results of people after a 20 minute walk in either an urban setting or a wooded area. The results "showed that those who walked in forests had significantly lower heart rates and higher heart rate variability (indicating more relaxation and less stress), and reported better moods and less anxiety, than those who walked in urban settings" (Suttie). Beyond the exercise of walking, there is a powerful correlation between being in nature and a decrease in the body's stress response.
- Better decision making - Believe it or not, the environment has a direct impact on the decisions you make. Humans have evolved to prefer instant gratification rather than long term gain. This is supported and encouraged by companies of consumer goods through marketing efforts to get you to buy their products. Yet studies out of London reveal when humans are in nature (or even shown pictures of natural landscapes) they are 10-16% less likely to choose a smaller immediate reward rather then a larger but delayed reward (Van der Wal). They call this phenomenon "living slower" where people in natural environments place more value on the future and perceive more abundant resources and less competition.
Williams, Florence (2017). The Nature Fix, Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. New York. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Suttie, Jill. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_nature_makes_you_kinder_happier_more_creative
Van der Wal, Arianne. https://royalsociety.org/news/2013/nature-affects-decisions/
It never hurts to daydream of where your next adventure will take you. If you are dreaming of escaping to the remote beauties of the US National Parks, the Discoverer has compiled a list ranking them from great to best (because none of them can really be considered bad). Take a look and start planning next year's adventures!
A night in the great outdoors not your thing? No worries, you can still get the benefits of of nature (especially red light) to your own backyard with the addition of a Solo Stove! We love Solo Stove because they are extremely portable and give off plenty of heat for everyone around gathered around them.