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Forest Bathing

Why Trees and Forests are Essential to Human Life

Humans rely on trees and forests not just for a plethora of products that keep us happy and healthy, but for the essential, uncontaminated air that sustains life on a cellular level as well. MONQ likes to call this Paleo Air, since it closely resembles the air of our ancestors, without the pollutants that come with modern living. Breathe this Therapeutic Air™ in a Forest personal aromatherapy diffuser.

Trees Provide Life

Human life is interconnected with the plants in its environment on levels that can surpass conscious awareness. Studies have shown that even the presence of trees and plants in the environment can have pervasive effects on the mood and health.

Our early ancestors were forest dwelling primates and the reverence for trees and forests is present in all civilizations that have survived to the present day. Trees are often identified as the fountains of life, symbols of life or even the life forms that connect the lands of the living and the dead. The culture that surrounds the forest of the world is fascinating and mysterious.

Our highly-advanced civilizations of today have greater reasons to honor these benevolent giants and even more, reasons are being discovered each day. Indeed, the greatest concern today is ensuring our planet’s forests and jungles will continue to provide their essential functions to future generations.

The following compendium of all things green and growing will highlight only a few of the most significant roles forest and trees play in keeping this world a comfortable and inviting paradise we can all enjoy.

forest landscape

Forests Allow Uncontaminated Air

Everyone appreciates breathing and the role trees and forest play in this natural miracle can’t be ignored, at least not for very long. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees transform sunlight into sugar plant foods and release oxygen in the process. A single leafy tree produces all the oxygen that 10 people will breathe in a year.

Trees can also be planted in specific locations to reduce the amount of noise transmitted from busy highways, factories and construction yards. A row of trees like this can also be planted to form a windbreaker. Protected from the strong wind, important nutrients in the soil are not blown away, and human habitats are also kept safe from the chill and are more energy-efficient.

When growing together in great numbers, trees do much more than provide oxygen and reduce noise. Forests act as great air filters that keep the quality of air high by removing airborne contaminants. Particles of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide are absorbed into the forests and with the help of precipitation tied safely into the ground where the forests can begin their next miracle.

river in the forest

Forests Protect the Soil and Water Cycle

The mighty forest has the capacity to absorb, encapsulate, or even transform toxins in the ground and can even absorb much of the toxins and pollutants caused by intensive agricultural development. This important function purifies the soil, in addition to cleaning the water before it is supplied to the underground water table or nearby lakes and rivers.

The tree's branches break the strength of falling rain and deliver moisture to the forest floor, allowing for a variety of delicate life to exist. The roots of the trees bind the soil together which prevents water from washing away the land. Jungles and rainforests soak up water like a sponge and release it slowly. This keeps many life forms alive and growing in the harsh dry season.

tree canopy

Trees Provide Shade and Cool Living Environments

The branches and leaves of a tree provide important shade from the heat of the sun. Planted around the home, a tree can keep the interior cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, improving your energy efficiency just by existing.

Trees also cool their immediate environment through the emission of specialized secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites can be used to fight diseases and predators, communicate with other species, and attract pollinators. They can even to help keep the ambient temperature within the woods at a nice carbon-containing low.

The cooler temperature within the forest improves life in several ways. Water is kept from evaporating too quickly, carbon is less likely to convert into carbon dioxide, and ecosystems of all types are supported and protected from the harsh elements of the savannah or grasslands.

This has been especially important in improving the quality of life within the big city. Cities without enough trees can begin to form “hot zones” or “heat islands”. The introduction of strategically located trees within the city can reduce the temperature in the area by as much as 2° - 8° C on a warm day. 1

Trees Play a Critical Role in the Carbon Cycle

For thousands of years, climates have become warmer and cooler depending on a variety of natural occurrences. But since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, climate change has been affected on a large scale by the destruction of forests and the extensive use of fossil fuels.

Carbon, released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), is a greenhouse gas and can contribute to the rising climate temperatures. Forests perform an important chemical exchange, pulling CO2 from the air and replacing this with oxygen. The carbon molecules form an important part of the plant's structures and can remain “sequestered” in the forest's plants, thus contributing to climate regulation.

Trees Provide Health Benefits

Good health would not be possible without the great support humans receive from trees and forests. The earliest recorded evidence of plants being used for medicinal reasons was seen in clay tablet from the ancient Sumerians where opium was mentioned as an herbal recipe. Since then, many pharmacological substances have been discovered from plant sources. Quinine, opium, digoxin, digitalis, and aspirin are all important medications derived from plants and trees that have saved countless human lives.

It is the selection of phytochemicals or secondary metabolites produced by different varieties of plants or trees that provide medicinal value and many more beneficial properties. One of the largest classes of organic compounds are called “ terpenes ” and are essential to the type of benefits offered by essential oils and are heavily present in MONQ Therapeutic Air.

The practice of forest bathing is a terrific boost to physical and mental health, largely due to the impressive benefits of these healthy organic compounds. Terpenes and forest bathing have been scientifically studied for their capacity to reduce stress and counter the physiological effects of excessive stress.

It has been postulated that this intimate connection between human beings and the terpenes in forest air was cultivated over many eons of evolutionary development that predates the first primates. It is well known that these terpenes and organic compounds support homeostasis, but it may be true that our bodies can’t properly attain this chemical balance without them.

tree trunk

Trees Provide Sustenance for the Body and Soul

Trees not only transform the energy of the sun into colorful orbs of fruity goodness to suit every taste but have innate qualities that make them attractive and desirable on many levels. There are thousands of trees in the forest, but you’ll never find two trees that are exactly alike in every way. As the seasons change, the same tree may see dramatic transformations in its own appearance.

Trees can soothe the mind and body by pervasively affecting each of the senses and even the subconscious with its delicate sensory appeal. The gentle curves and asymmetrical design can soothe the eyes while the sound of the wind rushing through the leaves resonates at a frequency that relaxes.

In cities where there are more trees and parks, local residents feel better about getting outside for fresh air, exercise and even meeting the neighbors. Trees naturally create an air of peace and relaxation. A region of land that has no trees or plants sends a danger signal to the brain; whatever killed the plant life may pose a threat to human life as well, and typically does. Neighborhoods with more parks and trees are also known to have reduced crime rates and higher property values.

Final Thoughts

Trees, forests, and plants are an important part of making human life possible and comfortable. If you are looking for a way to instantly improve your mood, induce relaxation, or even begin healthier lifestyles based on better exercise, don’t underestimate the support available from the forest kingdom.

Forest therapy is a tremendous support to health and a great way to balance the unhealthy aspects of modern life. But, just because you don’t actually live near any forests doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits that trees can provide for your life.

In addition to adding some greenery to your personal living space, you can also access all the beneficial terpenes and aromatic compounds of the deep forest in essential oil form. The MONQ Forest portable diffuser contains a selection of fragrant organic compounds commonly found in the deep woods to provide a soothing bath for the senses. 3

Being completely portable allows you to bring the mentally and physically therapeutic benefits of the woods anywhere you go. The next time you begin feeling hedged in by the concrete jungle, remember all the wonders of the forest are only a breath away.

Photo credits: Sinelev/, GoncharukMaks/, StefanHolm/, vovan/,

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