Spending time in nature has always been a good thing. But now a growing number of experts are promoting a type of deep-woods therapy called "forest bathing" that might actually improve your health.
According to the New York Times, "Some small studies...suggest that spending time in nature, specifically in lush forests, might decrease stress and blood pressure (especially in middle-aged men), improve heart-rate variability and lower cortisol levels while boosting one's mood."
Apparently the effects are heightened when a stream or other body of water is added to the mix.
Luckily for New Yorkers, there's an ideal uptown spot for taking a forest bath: the Ravine in Central Park. Tucked within the park's North Woods, this hidden stream valley is a beautiful mix of dense trees and water–which just so happen to be the primary ingredients for the therapy.
And no wonder. Restored in 2017 by the Central Park Conservancy, this northern oasis was designed to resemble the Adirondacks by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 19th century.
You can approach the Ravine from different directions (make sure to consult the park map before heading out, then use Google Maps to find the exact spot). For example, you can enter from 110th Street via the south side of Lasker Rink and take a path that leads straight there.
The walk leads past a soothing waterfall, romantic stone arches and a stream where frolicking birds take leisurely dips. Within minutes, glass, steel and concrete will feel miles away–and your forest bath will begin.