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The Japanese call it “Shinrin-Yoku” – the practice of forest bathing. You can do it while you are trekking or camping or simply exploring an area with primary forest. Or if you prefer a more exhilarating “bath” experience, then why not zipline through Langkawi’s Matchinchang tropical rainforest with the Umgawa rangers. Research has proven that just being amidst trees have immense physiological and psychological effects. This may have a lot to do with inhaling that pure fresh air that emanates from the rainforest. This is air that is not canned, not bottled, not in a canister. Nor is it in a cafe where you pay to breathe pure oxygen. No need for bottled fresh mountain air here. This is genuine, fresh, clean air absolutely FREE.

As you glide through the eco canopy during your “forest bath” you will be inhaling 10 gases that make up this clean air: Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane (CH4), Krypton, Hydrogen, and Xenon. Oxygen is everywhere, comprising up to 20% of the air. Some of this oxygen dissolves in water, some permeate into the ground. Oxygen accounts for about half of a plant’s weight – trees, shrubbery, grasses – the rest comprises carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Did you know that half of a mountain’s weight is from oxygen? This includes the soil and the rocks. So what does breathing in genuine pure fresh air do for you?

1. Fresh air cleans the lungs and helps transport more oxygen to the cells. As you exhale you will be releasing airborne toxins from your body. The increased oxygen level in the body brings with it renewed energy. 2. You know that feeling of drowsiness that comes from sitting too long at your desk working? And how that changes when you decide to “stretch your legs” with a little walk? Just that sheer movement increases the level of oxygen in your body and your brain (which needs 20% of our body’s oxygen to function efficiently). 3. A polluted environment taxes the workings of the body. It has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Fresh air improves blood pressure and the heart rate. 4. It is always a good idea to take a short walk after a meal, especially a walk in the fresh air. Not only is this good for digestion of the food you ate, but it is also energizing and good for the mood. 5. The amount of the neurotransmitter, serotonin your body has is hugely affected by the amount of oxygen you inhale. Serotonin can significantly lighten moods and promote a sense of happiness and well-being. It is the fresh air that does that. 6. Fresh air strengthens your immune system. It is oxygen that gives white blood cells the power to destroy bacteria, viruses, and germs through efficient functioning. 7. Fresh air purifies the blood making it easier to be transported via the lymphatic system to all the vital parts of the body. 8. Fresh air aids depression and helps to control and lighten stress. 9. Ultimately a “forest bath” cleanses you totally - mind, body and soul.

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