It is widely accepted and understood that health is wealth. However, in the 21st century, where most people are in cities and urban jungles, the health of many is jeopardized. This is due to several factors like pollution, overcrowding, work-related stress, lack of basic amenities, skyrocketing rise of shelter, homelessness, drug abuse, etc. For this and other reasons, some have decided to retire to the forests and even live there.
Therapeutic Benefits of Living in the Forests
There are many benefits and health advantages when it comes to living in the woods. Living in the woods is a habit that is common in a country like Japan. Scientists in the Far East Asian nation have done extensive studies on the therapeutic benefits of living in the wild.
By taking the time to escape from the stress of city jobs and staying in the woods, one can enjoy many mental, psychological, and physical benefits. Even a few minutes daily in the woods have its advantages. Here are some of the health benefits that come with living in the wild:
Boosting of the Immune System
Living in the forests means you enjoy fresh air, unlike the pollutant-laden air from the cities. Woods have the power to heal our bodies, and there is no doubt about that. The air inside forests contains chemical substances called phytoncides, which the trees and plants produce for protection from insects and other pests. These chemicals are useful in boosting the immune system of not just the plants themselves but also of humans too.
Reduction of Stress and Improvement of Cardiovascular Function
It is interesting to know that an activity as simple as just observing trees or carrying out physical exercises can reduce stress by decreasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This also has the effect of lowering blood pressure. In addition to these, living in the wild has also shown to be useful in reducing the risks of coming down with psychological or mental conditions like depression, fatigue, anger, or anxiety.
Swifter Recovery Times
Researchers have also noticed that patients who have been discharged from hospitals following surgical operations tend to recover faster when they spend some time in the woods. The same set of people also had to take remarkably smaller doses of pain medications. They also recorded fewer complications following the surgery than those who went straight to the concrete jungles of urban areas after the procedures.
Increased Concentration and Focus
The noise, pollution, bright lights, and other factors in the cities make it difficult for many to concentrate. But when living in the forests, it becomes considerably more comfortable for such people to relax, have peace of mind, and focus and concentrate better. This explains why some writers and artists decide to retire into the mountains with the wild to enjoy the tranquility and get inspired.
Dangers of Living in the Forests
As it has been stated in the parts above, several benefits come with living in the woods. On the other hand, there are also some associated risks and dangers of living in the woods. These are outlined below:
Presence of Wild Animals
Woods are the natural habitats of different species of wild animals. From jaguars to black bears to elephants, a forest may become a scary place if care is not taken. Imagine dozing off in your tent only for you to hear commotion outside caused by a set of rampaging bears. People have been killed or seriously injured in the forests by various kinds of wild animals.
The Abundance of Toxic Plants and Venomous Insects
From the stinging bush to curare vine, forests are teeming with very poisonous plants. These plants have evolved dangerous compounds over time mainly to offer protection against predators. There are also nasty insects like killer bees, tarantulas, wasps, and hornets all over the woods, and one wrong step can spell doom.
Even though insects have these poisonous stings mainly for defense and trapping prey, they can be ruthless against humans. The forests of the Amazon, for instance, teem with these dangerous creatures, and you have to think twice.
Lack of Emergency Medical Services
Unlike urban centers with vast and sprawling medical complexes, forests typically do not have an emergency or even regular medical services. That means you are on your own if you happen to have a medical emergency. Good luck to you in managing a heart attack or stroke when you live in the middle of a park in Congo or Gabon.
Absence of Security Services
Once again, security services like the police typically do not focus on forests as they are sparsely populated. Hence, a forest can be a perfect place for a criminal to attack people and vanish. It is not a mistake that many serial killers have found their victims by stalking them in abandoned spots in regions like forests and parks. Living in a forest is going to make you vulnerable to criminal elements unless you are incredibly armed.
Unreliable Telecommunication Signals
Telephone masts are far and apart in forest regions, so you may not be able to make or receive calls or even use the Internet. If telecommunication signals are significant for you, you may have to reconsider your stay.
While it is apparent that there are several benefits to staying in the forests, especially for your health, there are also some significant risks. These are risks that cannot be wished away. This is because some of them are genuinely life-threatening. Therefore, one should only go ahead with living in the forests only when you have been able to put concrete strategies to tackle the dangers and risks of living in this pristine and natural environment.