Sylvotherapy: caution before hugging a tree

Silvotherapy is a tree therapy. By hugging them, some people would be able to reduce their stress, their blood pressure or their cortisol levels. But this practice is not without risk, before approaching a tree, it is better to take some precautions.

Nature is our friend, but it's better to stay on guard. More and more people are adopting silvotherapy around the world. Coming from Japan, where she is called "Shinrin Yoku" for a forest bath, the practice is to heal with the trees. However, they are not without danger and it is necessary to take some precautions so that it does not turn into drama.

Mosses and lichens not so harmless

Practitioners in sylvotherapy hug trees to relax. Dr. Qing Li is one of the world's "experts" in this technique. According to him, it would strengthen the immune system, reduce blood pressure or reduce the level of stress hormones. Breathing fresh air, walking, relaxing, it is true that spending time in the forest can be very beneficial, but cuddling the trees should be done with the utmost caution. An entire ecosystem evolves on the bark of these plants. There are mosses and lichens that can cause itching. The National Research and Safety Institute (INRS) has listed in a file all the allergens that can be found on trees. Frullania is one of the regularly occurring foams, it causes severe itching.

Insects that live on trees

Animal species also roam the bark like processionary caterpillars that feed on pine or cedar needles. INRA recalls that they emit stinging hairs and allergens. The itching can last up to two weeks and the hair can cause edema or injure the eyes. We must also pay attention to ticks that are responsible for Lyme disease. All are not carriers but if you are stung by a tick and a skin reaction remains after several days, you should consult.

Hornets can also be near trees, their sting is painful and may be very serious in case of allergies. Whichever forest you go in, before hugging trees, make sure you have enough cover (long sleeve and trousers), watch the bark, and ideally wear gloves.

A disputed practice of scientists

Nothing says that the practice of silvotherapy will have miracle effects. In an article in Le Figaro, Professor Yves Tillet, neuroendocrinologist at INRA, confesses his skepticism about its benefits on cortisol levels: "Everyone agrees that going for a walk in the forest, in the mountains or at the seaside is nice, but from there to show a change in cortisol secretion through silvotherapy, the pace is quite large. "

Video: Trees, leaves and soil to relax body and mind (February 2020).