Natural Killer cells, what are they, and why do we need them?

Cancer fighting heroes of your immune system.

Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in your immune system’s early warning system and defence against cellular abnormalities. They literally seek and destroy tumour and virus-ridden cells.

Your immune system is an incredibly complex network of cells and molecules that band together to protect your body against harmful invaders. NK cells form a crucial component of this surveillance and response to various pathogens and abnormal cells, such as cancer cells. They are called “natural killers” because they possess a sophisticated system that remarkably enables them to distinguish between healthy and abnormal cells and then back it up with the powerful ability to eliminate the abnormal or infected cells.

Harnessing the power

It comes as no surprise that harnessing the factors that influence the activation and enhancement of these miraculous NK cells is an area of active scientific research within which the link between natural killer cells and phytoncides which originate from plants and tress has gained increasing attention in recent years.

Phytoncides are volatile organic compounds released by plants, especially trees such as spruce, conifer, pine and oak trees, that possess antimicrobial properties, meaning they inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. By emitting phytoncides, trees and plants create a protective barrier against harmful pathogens, reducing the risk of infections and diseases.

When humans are exposed to phytoncides either through inhalation or skin contact they enhance the activity and production of your NK cells.

Phytoncides the official medicine of the forests

Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, originated in Japan and has gained popularity worldwide as a practice for promoting well-being. It involves immersing oneself in a forested environment, intentionally engaging with nature through sensory experiences.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Japan found that individuals who participated in forest bathing exhibited increased NK cell activity and enhanced expression of NK cell-activating receptors. Better immune function is not the only benefit further studies conducted in Japan have shown positive effects on various aspects of human health. Spending even a short time Forest Bathing has also been shown to reduce stress levels, improve your mood, and lower blood pressure among individuals who engage in Forest Bathing. It’s no wonder that Shinrin-yoku has long been promoted by the Japanese government.

Andorra is a paradise for Forest Bathing

Andorra, with its stunning landscapes nestled in the Pyrenees, offers an ideal setting to experience Forest Bathing. Its pristine forests, dominated by tree species like Scots Pine, Black Pine, Silver Fir, and Downy Oak, provide a tranquil environment for rejuvenation and well-being. The combination of fresh mountain air, soothing nature sounds, and the therapeutic aroma of the forest, create a serene atmosphere for relaxation and stress reduction. Andorra offers well-maintained trails and certified guided forest bathing experiences, such as those provided by our partner Be Forest, that allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural splendour. The tranquil atmosphere, crisp mountain air, and breath-taking vistas create a soothing backdrop for rejuvenation and relaxation. Whether seeking stress relief, improved mental well-being, or a deeper connection with nature, Be Forest beckons you to indulge in the healing embrace of Forest Bathing.

The Forest Baths offered by Be Forest are designed by their Certified Forest Bathing guides who are on hand to help you find the precious connection to the forests and gain the inherent benefits that have been lost in our evolution bridging the gap between ourselves and nature, bringing our minds, bodies, and spirits back into harmony with the natural world.

Malgrat els desplaçaments diaris i la vida urbana que molts de nosaltres experimentem avui dia, en el context de l’evolució humana, les jungles de formigó són una mera partícula de temps comparades amb els mil·lennis que hem passat vivint en la naturalesa, entre els arbres i els boscos del nostre bell planeta. Evolucionem per a viure en la naturalesa i vagar pels boscos, així que no és d’estranyar que aquí, entre els arbres, es trobi un dels millors antídots contra la vida moderna.

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