Spending time in nature has always been a good thing, but in recent years a growing number of experts have been promoting a type of deep-woods therapy called forest bathing that might actually improve your health.
Some small studies have proposed that "spending time in nature, specifically in lush forests, might decrease stress and blood pressure...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). One of the easiest ways to explore the area may be taking the Central Park Conservancy's self-guided tour, which leads you from the scenic Pool to the dramatic Huddlestone Arch and back again.
The walk leads past a number of soothing waterfalls and romantic stone arches along the stream where frolicking birds take leisurely dips. Within minutes, glass, steel and concrete will feel miles away—and your forest bath will begin.