The Secret Therapy of Trees by Marco Mencagli and Marco Nieri

Synopsis

“Our connection to nature is deeply rooted in the history of our evolution. And yet, we have less contact with green space now than ever, and our stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high. The Secret Therapy of Trees helps us rediscover the restorative value of our natural environment and presents the science behind green therapies like forest bathing and bioenergetic landscapes, explaining which are the most effective and how to put them into practice to achieve the best possible results. 

Studies have shown that increased exposure to green space can result in a regulated heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, reduced aggressiveness, improved memory skills and cognitive function, and a healthier immune system. Just one visit to a forest can bring positive effects (hint: monoterpenes, the natural essential oils in plants, have numerous positive effects on health), and even a mindful walk through a semi natural park can alleviate physical and psychological stress. 

With multiple studies backing its findings and thorough explanations for each technique, The Secret Therapy of Trees is a treasure trove of tips on how to harness the regenerative power of plants and reconnect with our planet’s natural spaces, bringing us health and happiness. 

-Synopsis from Penguin Random House

Review

Cover of The Secret Therapy of Trees
Cover image from Penguin Random House

The Secret Therapy of Trees: Harness the Healing Energy of Forest Bathing and Natural Landscapes is a book I decided to read on a whim one day when I was looking for a short non-fiction read. The title piqued my interested and I wanted to know more about tree therapy.

This book was very enlightening in terms of learning about how deep the human connection is to trees and nature, and the science behind why trees are natural healers, and how therapeutic green spaces are.

Speaking of which, the significance of the color green came up more than once…

“The scientific community is still unable to definitively determine how many colors the human eye can perceive. Various biomedical reports show numbers ranging from a minimum of one hundred thousand to a theoretical maximum of ten million shades.

Yet, there is a consensus and study results that green is the color for which humans can distinguish the greatest number of shades. The difference is significant. For green it’s about one hundred hues, while for other colors including composite colors it’s only a few dozen. This phenomenon has evolutionary origins.”

from The Secret Therapy of Trees by Marco Mencagli and Marco Nieri

One of the concepts discussed that was most interesting to me was “forest bathing” which originated in Japan in the 1980s and is about immersing yourself in nature. There are numerous health benefits to this activity which have been shown to have lasting effects. The book explains it much more thoroughly than I could, and this NPR article does a good job of explaining it as well.

I have always enjoyed being in nature but because I live in the desert I am lacking in the amount of trees and forests I can visit. However, Northern Arizona isn’t too far away and I make a point to travel there every few months if possible to spend time outdoors. It’s nice to know that not only do those outings feel restorative, but they are scientifically proven to be.

I would recommend this book if you are interesting in nature or forests, and open to a nonfiction read that has some science mixed in.

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