Boost Your Immunity with Forest Bathing, Here On Earth

Could the forests offer a boost to our taxed immune systems? The current planetary patterns say “yes.”

by Matthew SwannThe AstroTwins

As we hunker down into acceptance of the long wait for a vaccine, widespread coronavirus testing and a full understanding of the COVID-19 life cycle, astrologers look to the planets for healing wisdom—earth in particular.

From May 2018 until April 2026, Uranus—the planet of innovation, science and radical change—is in sensate Taurus, the first earth sign of our zodiac, which tells us that nature itself may provide the stroke of genius insight, immunologically speaking, in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

Consider forest bathing as such an example of grounded Uranian energy.

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing, or forest therapy, involves spending time immersed in a forest, whether a two-hour walk through a forest, or a three day sleepover under a forest canopy, the benefits are measurable. The practice of forest bathing is also worldwide; in Japan shinrin-yoku literally translates as “forest bathing.”

Yes, it might sound like something you’d likely read about in GOOP, yet even royal Duchess Kate Middleton, an earthy, wise Capricorn, had a forest bathing garden designed on her grounds.

Now science supports the Duchess. Data-backed research shows that there are beneficial effects to the immune system by forest bathing, and surprisingly robust ones.

A study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine showed that a walk in the woods enhanced the immune system by raising human natural killer (NK) cell activity. Not only did the number of NK cells increase in both male and female subjects, but this effect lasted for more than seven days after trips to the woods.

Another crucial study led by Dr. Qing Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, investigated the impact of essential oils from trees on human immune function. It measured exposure to phytoncides—anti-microbial aromatic organic compounds, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene—which trees produce.

In this study, a group of test subjects was exposed to phytoncides through two-hour forest walks; another through essential oils misted via diffusers into their hotel room air.

In both cases, results showed that phytoncide exposure, along with decreased stress hormone levels, “significantly increased NK activity.”

Phytoncides are found in many plant and tree species—onion, garlic, tea tree, oak, cedar, locust and pine, to name a few. Even many common cooking spices contain phytoncides.

This link to The Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology shows the findings of this important immune study.

While we’re not suggesting that forest bathing is the cure for COVID-19, we are scanning the landscape—and the starscape—for prevention, an ounce of which can be worth a pound of cure, as (also a Capricorn) Ben Franklin sagely counseled us.

Remember, the forest always signals transformation, a rite of passage (think of a “hero’s journey”) often sublime and evoking the transcendent. Follow your flowy feelings and head to the forest if you can. Embrace your inner druid and bathe deeply in cedar and pine.

If you can’t get to the woods—or your state and local parks are shut down—find some trees and feel the earthy love.

Need a good book to read while perched under a canopy of leaves?

Check out Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets. The undisputed king of shrooms guides you through the world of fungi—a must-read for any nemophilist (a.k.a., a person fond of forests and woodland scenery).

As Uranus and the revitalizing Sun connect in Taurus on April 26, 2020 an electrifying once-a-year meetup could provide a stunning revelation for you this springtime.

And a poetic one, too. Taurus William Shakespeare—born April 26—wrote in As You Like It (Act II, Scene I The Forest of Adern):

“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything…”

Heed the bard, head to the forest, take a deep breath and give thanks to the trees.

They will appreciate.

Disclaimer: The preceding is informational, a form of entertainment, and should not be confused with medical advice. Please consult with a physician and or accredited medical professional when considering any medical decision.

Photo credit: Casey Horner


The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.