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Photograph by Dave Robinson
Take a Tree Bath

The Japanese belief that their practice of “forest bathing” is good for body and mind now has some scientific backing. For eight years, researchers in Japan studied the physiological and psychological effects of spending time among trees, and found it significantly improves immune function, lowers stress, and reduces hostility and depression. “Forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes,” they concluded.

Silence Heals

Being hospitalized is stressful enough, but the constant beeping, buzzing, ringing of hospital monitors—an average of one every 11 minutes, according to a study—makes the experience downright nerve-wracking. And the effect extends to hospital staff: “Alarm fatigue” is so commonplace that doctors and nurses often stop noticing the sounds, diminishing their effectiveness.

After her own hospitalization, ambient musician Yoko K. Sen was determined to make hospitals more peaceful. Working with Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub, she’s experimenting with adding music, aromatherapy, and moving projections to patient rooms and “tranquility” areas for hospital staff.

A Tale of Two More Cities

Storefront meditation studios/bars/spas keep opening in urban centers: Bar À Méditation is in the Opera district in Paris, and Inhere (inset) opened recently in the City of London.

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