Forest Bathing Spa: Peat Face Mask

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Today, to help you meet your “forest bathing” needs in a unique way, I’m going to introduce you to a Face Mask of organic peat, which is one of Lehtopeat’s ranges of products. This is my favorite face mask, because it gives my skin large amount of nutrients and makes it look brighter, but also because I know this product very well. It’s like forest bathing spa at home!

Few years back I attended one of Lehtopeat’s courses to learn to perform peat treatments and all the benefits that peat has on our health. So, using this natural nutritious black soil on people’s whole body with some warm wrappings or sauna is not new to me.

Organic Peat mask

100% Natural and Organic from the Clean Nature of Finland

All Lehtopeat’s products are 100% natural and from the clean nature of Finland. This all-natural face mask is made of peat aged closed to about 5000 years and it is rich with organic materials and natural herbs. It contains over 200 bioactive ingredients in a natural balance.

This peat face mask is made from carefully selected raw materials. The peat, which is the sole ingredients in this face mask, is transformed into paste without any additional material. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out. This naturally sourced raw material contains many skin conditioning agents, such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, which allow your skin to access essential nutrients. It really can be your forest bathing spa in the privacy of your own home.

Forest bathing spa

Peat Can Penetrate the Skin

Peat mask has bioactive agents like humic and fulvic acids that make its therapeutic effects on any skin type highly effective. It’s shown, that they can penetrate the skin and nourish it very deeply. It’s the perfect forest bathing spa. Humic and vulvic acids are also effective in getting rid of toxins, that often make our skin grey and tired looking. Using peat with warm steaming or sauna, accelerates the blood circulation and activates the metabolism. Peat can also bind rheumatoid factors and improve hormone activity and cell renewal.

Face Mask is painstakingly prepared with necessary precautions, which is why it is safe to use on all skin types. There is no known allergenic effect. I really want you to take advantage of the natural therapeutic effect Lehtopeat’s organic peat face mask would have on your skin.

Peat Removes Rheumatoid Factors and Toxins

Since Face Mask is made from natural ingredient which is plant based, it has the therapeutic “forest bathing” effect not only on your skin but also on your entire body system. It replenishes your skin by penetrating through the surface of the skin. This product also has the ability to remove toxins from your body.

According to the Geological Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, peat has the natural potency to bind rheumatoid factors and toxins, thereby improving the endocrine and promoting the renewal of cells in the body. After regular uses, your skin will feel softer and brighter. If you have aches somewhere in your body, you can use peat on it with a warm plastic wrapper. Thus, if you want to enjoy healthier looking skin or pain free shoulders for instance, peat mask is one product that can come handy for you.

Best forest therapy

Peat is Studied in Geological Research Centre of Finland

Numerous studies by the Geological Research Centre of Finland have found that treatment peat is so effective because it is usually located deep down in a swamp where they could not have been contaminated by radioactive substances or any kind of harmful bacteria. The treatment peat is then taken from below the groundwater surface to produce pure natural products like this peat face mask.

Great benefits have been found also with peat baths, no matter whether they are whole body or foot baths. Finland is the leading authority in the field of peat treatments and new courses and trainings are developed as we speak. But I really don’t wonder this, because I know the power of peat on my health.

Try out the Forest Bathing Spa at Your Home

The bottom line is that Lehtopeat’s Face Mask is a natural product that supports natural wellness. It has no biological or chemical components, that can be injurious to your body system. Neither does it contain any synthetic property that may create allergic conditions for you. Face mask offers a natural solution to take care of your beauty and wellness without jeopardizing your overall health.

As you already know, it has always been my delight to provide practical natural therapy for managing different health conditions. In my subsequent posts, you will be hearing more about Lehtopeat’s peat products. Please, watch out! But in the meantime, try it out! You can buy peat masks through my blog (on the right) or through my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/foresttherapytoday/. One pack is good for two rounds!

Sunshine to your day,

Heidi

P.s. More about soil, dirt and all the goodies to do with them HERE

Forest bathing spa peat

Internal Forest Therapy with Green Smoothies

I love green smoothies!! And I’ll assure you, that the internal forest therapy with green smoothies, will keep you healthy and detoxify your system. In case you don’t know yet, there are several health benefits of drinking green smoothies at least once daily. I take mine first thing in the morning and it gives me enormous amount of energy! In fact, many natural health practitioners have opined that a regular consumption of green smoothie is nature’s approved way of rejuvenating the human body system and aiding the body to build immunity against diseases and external infections. I’m going to share a few of the benefits of this magical drink with you in a moment.

The beauty of it all is that it is easy to prepare and the ingredients are readily available around us. Of course, you can easily get five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Some of the commonly used fruits and vegetables for making green smoothies includes but not limited to apples, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.), citrus fruits, and green vegetables (kale, spinach, celery and other leafy greens).

Aside the obvious benefits of helping you to lose weight and increasing vitamins and minerals in the body, there are also other benefits of consuming green smoothies on a daily basis.

Green Smoothies Connect You with Nature

Foods from plant source give you the most opportunities to connect with nature. Of course, you can buy your green smoothie ingredients from the food store, but you can also collect some of them from the nature. Only use plants you are familiar with. I like to use few young nettle leaves and dandelion leaves from clean places far away from traffic and pollution. Collection your own healthy food is kind of a sacred performance.

wild food foraging

Nature heals naturally. And that is exactly what green smoothies will do to your body. The various vitamins and minerals there in green smoothies work together to heal you of the known and unknown ailment and diseases hiding in your body. It also helps you to neutralize your blood pH and prevent your body from extreme acidic conditions. The good thing is that by the time you get used to daily drinking of smoothies, your craving for unnatural diets such junk foods, sweets, and other unhealthy foods will reduce drastically.

Green Smoothies Are Rich in Chlorophyll

The internal forest threapy, that green smoothies give you, came from plant source, which makes them rich with chlorophyll. There are astonishing similarities between the process of respiration in humans and animals and the act of photosynthesis in plants. The molecule of chlorophyll makes plants green. It also traps sunlight and converts it into energy. Chlorophyll has only one atom that makes it different from a molecule of hemoglobin, which makes blood red and carries oxygen.

Hemoglobin and chlorophyll are identical in structure with one exception. Where hemoglobin attaches to oxygen, the chlorophyll molecule contains an atom of magnesium. Because of this similarity, chlorophyll is thought to support in cleansing and maintaining a healthy blood.

The amazing thing is, that in us humans, chlorophyll enhances the immune system, purifies the blood, and rejuvenates the body. Hence, daily consumption of green smoothies will definitely increase your chlorophyll intake and consequently, improves your health.

Internal Forest Therapy with Green Smoothies Increases Your Energy Levels

Green smoothies are good sources of the B vitamins and magnesium, which can help to boost your energy levels so you can easily get things done. These whole natural foods will optimize your energy levels without given your digestive system any additional burden. In fact, green smoothies make the digestion process easier and smoother.

Internal Forest Therapy Boosts Your Nutrition and Strengthens Your Immune System

Green smoothies are powerful sources of valuable nutrients needed by your body to perform optimally. Green smoothies are excellent sources B vitamins, vitamin A, C, K, E, and foliate. They also provide minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and copper, among others in abundant. These vitamins and minerals compositions help increase your nutrition intake.

Many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you will find in your green smoothies will work to help boost your body’s immune system, thereby protecting you against diseases and help build antibodies to fight infections. Green smoothies not only strengthen your defenses against diseases, they also provide the majority of the natural substances essential for your body to stay fit.

Green Smoothies Help with Cholesterol Levels and High Blood Pressure

The natural minerals and vitamins contents of green smoothies do not support high cholesterol. Rather, these plant-based diets, if consumed daily, may help lower your cholesterol level.

If you’re looking for a reliable way to lower your blood pressure without relying on medications, daily consumption of green smoothies is highly recommended. The various fruits and vegetables that made up your green smoothies can improve your blood pressure. In addition, green smoothies can save you from risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

Mental Clarity, Focus and Vision are Getting Better with Internal Forest Therapy

A daily dose of internal forest therapy, in form of greens, helps you to feel better, promote mental clarity, and improve focus. Like most healthy diets, green smoothies do not have any side effect on your body system.

Green smoothies are rich in antioxidant compounds such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and resveratrol. These antioxidant compounds support healthy eyes by removing deposited dusts and other impurities, thereby helping to improve your vision. These cleansing activities serve as protections for your eyes.

Internal Forest Therapy for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails

Your skin, hair, and nails need to feed on the right vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and functional. No doubt, drinking green smoothies on daily basis is a sure bet approach for anyone who wants to keep a glowing skin. The beneficial contents of green smoothies don’t just help to remove skin blemishes; they promote healthy hair and stronger nails as well. I think in my case it all goes to my hair and not a bit to my nails…

My favorite green smoothie has kale, spinach, citrus, banana and avocado mixed with some water. I love the thing, that I can easily take my morning green drink with me no matter where I’ll go. Just need to remember to check my teeth from the can mirror before showing my energetic happy not-green smile at work place.

Just to sum up…

Several studies have shown that sufficient servings of fruits and vegetables help to keep the doctor away. Daily intake of green smoothies may help you to keep chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes (type 2), obesity, stroke, Alzheimer, and cardiovascular ailments away or at least help you to manage the conditions.

There is no doubt that daily intake of green smoothies promotes healthy living and guarantees longevity. The blending of fruits and vegetables together helps to break down plant cells and consequently, unlocks nutrients that help to maximize bodily functions. Thus, if you crave to live a healthy and fulfilling life now and in your old age, it’s time you consider incorporating green smoothies into your daily diet. It is easy to prepare, friendly to the taste bud, and great for your health. It is a win-win diet option for everyone.

Sunshine to your day,

Heidi

Blood Glucose Level and Forest Bathing

If you are experiencing diabetes, struggling with high blood glucose level or are on the verge of developing the diabetic condition, keep on reading. I know, there have been many discussions about how to reduce blood glucose levels, but today I’m offering you something very different. Researchers all around the world have been searching for methods of reducing high blood sugar levels, the symptoms of diabetes as well as the risk of developing this severe condition.

Blood sugar level

Traditional treatments for high blood glucose levels

The solutions offered have usually been exercise and healthy diet. This being said, walking is a simple and light exercise and it’s recommended to walk up to 10,000 steps a day if complications of diabetes allow you to. There have been numerous studies about the relations between exercise and blood glucose level. I want to state few key findings in these researches:

  • 30 minutes cycle ergometer with intensity of 75% à blood glucose down by 13mg (100 ml-1)
  • 40 minutes cycle ergometer with intensity of 45% à blood glucose down by 116,5mg (100 ml-1)
  • 3-hour cycle ergometer with intensity of 40% à blood glucose down by 40mg (100 ml-1)
  • Half mile walk on treadmill with slopes à blood glucose down by 24,5mg (100 ml-1)

Forest Therapy Today’s prescription for high blood glucose level

Maybe you are ready to move on to my favorite subject, forest bathing! As we know, forest visits and spending time in nature can work wonders for clearing the mind and allowing the fresh air into our system, but could it also affect blood glucose levels? Well, according to Yoshinori Ohtsuka at Hokkaido University, this could very well be the case.

Known as ‘shinrin-yoku’, the study assessed the effect of forest bathing on blood glucose levels across a range of non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Although the study took place around 20 years ago, it has largely remained under the radar… But I’m hoping to change that with you! During this 20 year period the diabetes has increasedgreatly. In the year 1997 3% of worlds population were diabetic and today, 2017, 9% of population suffer from it.

A total of 87 non-insulin-dependent diabetic individuals formed a study sample. Addition to that, also 50 healthy participants (medical staff) did give their samples of blood glucose levels before and after the forest bathing trip. Also, blood pressure was measured in this study. Forest bathing was performed nine times over a period of six years. After being divided into two groups based on physical ability, participants then walked either three- or six-kilometer path in forest surroundings.

As mentioned, each participant went through the process nine times in order to work out averages and really get a feel for the relationship between forest bathing and blood glucose level. Participants were instructed to walk at their own pace, listen their body and keep pulse rate below 110-120 beats. According to the researchers, not one participant complained of sickness or hypoglycemic symptoms during the walks.

High blood sugar

The effect of forest bathing on high blood glucose levels

Can you guess what happened to the participants’ blood sugar levels? If you think about the above numbers to do with exercise…? Well, I’ll share with you! After forest walk, the average blood glucose level dropped. And not only did it drop, it fell dramatically. Starting at 179mg (100 ml-1), the mean blood glucose levels fell away to 108mg (100ml-1). Total mean decrease in blood glucose level with 237 participants was 71mg (100 ml-1). It’s a lot! And surprising was that the difference between 3-kilometer group and 6-kilometer group was not meaningful (3km 74mg (100 ml-1) / 6km 70mg (100 ml-1)).

With non-diabetic participants, the decrease in blood glucose level was 7mg (100 ml-1). As there was also blood pressure measurement included in this study, you may want to know how it turned out. The systolic blood pressure dropped from average 147 mmHg to average 140 mmHg. And that’s great news for anybody struggling with it! You can read more about forest bathing and high blood pressure HERE

Why does forest surroundings affect our blood glucose level?

Addition to the walking, there must be other beneficial factors in forest scenery for diabetic person. Why was the change so huge? That it’s the forest atmosphere, the smells, colors, sounds, sights and those live saving chemical compounds, phytoncides, segregated by trees, plants, mosses and soil. According to studies, our body and mind starts to react almost immediately as we enter nature. After 5 minutes the changes are already measurable. It’s our home.

Blood glucose levels

According to the study, also negative ions have much to do with our health. They are present especially in the forests, mountains and sea air. Studies have shown that negative ions enhance parasympathetic nervous system activity (calming effect) and decrease blood glucose level.

Considering we’re always looking for ways to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and keep blood glucose levels under a respectable level, this study shows again the enormous power that nature has on our health. With diabetes only getting more general all-around the world, we’re in need of solutions and I’m certain, that this study will prove critical in the years ahead!

Love and light to your days,

Heidi

High Blood Pressure Treatment – Forest Bathing

Do you have troubles with your blood pressure? High blood pressure is commonly considered to be a leading cause of heart disease, stroke and premature death. Normal and healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. Systolic blood pressure is the upper number and it indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery WALLS, when beating. The lower number is diastolic blood pressure. And it tells you how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

High Blood Pressure is Serious Business

This time we are going to view the connections between high blood pressure and forest bathing or forest therapy. But first I would like to show you some figures to do with high blood pressure. The price tag for high blood pressure in USA is around UDS 46 billion in a year. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And just to make the point clearer, it is estimated that in 2035 the cost of all cardiovascular diseases in USA is going to be one trillion dollars.

High blood pressure causes

Forest Bathing Lowers High Blood Pressure

I’m so exited about this one interesting research article, which systematically reviews medical literature and previous studies of blood pressure-lowering effects of forest bathing. That research was aimed to evaluate the preventative and therapeutic effect of forest environment – walking in, sitting in or viewing – on high blood pressure and especially on systolic blood pressure.

The research started with checking out carefully 33 studies. Finally they were narrowed down to 20 trials and 15 individual studies. Five of these 20 trials were control group trials in which other group spend time in nature and other group in city settings. And 15 trials were cross-over studies in which participants had both exposures. Wonderful thing in cross-over studies is, that individual differences are less important.

In total, there was 732 participants in this research. Quite a remarkable sample, I would say. And the time spend amongst the trees was a onetime deal and lasted less than 2 hours. Ok, let’s check out how one short forest visit effects on systolic blood pressure.

forest bathing blood pressure

I would dare to say, that the difference is huge especially if you are middle-aged man or woman and if your systolic blood pressure is fairly raised. Most would benefit middle-aged ladies who would get a 7mmHg drop in their systolic blood pressure. Second place with 6,33mmHg drop will be given to people with systolic blood pressure over 130mmHg. And third place would go to middle-aged men with drop of 4,27mmHg.

Is the Execise the Key?

It’s noteworthy, that there was not much difference in the results weather participants were walking or sitting in nature. So, it’s not about exercise. What then could be the mechanism behind these – in my mind – amazing results? Trials show clearly, that forest environment decreases sympathetic nerve activity, which prepares the body to react to stresses such as threat or injury. On the other hand, nature increases parasympathetic nerve activity, which controls functions of the body at rest.

So, forest environment or even scenery makes us more relaxed by silencing our over stressed sympathetic nervous system. This happens by slowing down heart rate and pulse rate and lowering the levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Hey, what about the diastolic blood pressure? It was covered with 17 trials in this research. Can you guess what happened? Well, diastolic blood pressure went down -1,75mmHg with just one short visit in nature. Makes one wonder if these results could be boosted even better.

forest bathing benefits

Use Regular and Purposeful Nature Exposure to Fight High Blood Pressure

These trials have lasted only couple of hours and they have been onetime deals. What would happen if this nature exposure would be regular or even daily? We definitely need more research about this, but my gut feeling says, that the effects would me amazing!

In these trials, the main intervention method has been walking or sitting in forest areas or only viewing forest sceneries. How would these results chance when one would combine forest compounds, sights and sounds with forest therapy exercises and deepen the connection with nature?

One of the easiest ways to experience forest bathing in all its depth is to listen to a guided forest therapy audio. Firstly, it’s effortless and easy. There is no need to book appointments and fit schedules. Secondly, you can stay in your nearby park or visit the nearest woods and there is no need to travel far away locations. You just need to find some pleasant nature place, upload the forest therapy audio into your smartphone and let us guide you through the process step by step with nature as your companion.

Guided forest therapy audio is not only easy, it is also a very powerful tool for personal development and helps to work out personal issues and hardships in life. By clicking “join us” in the sidebar or below, you will receive free forest therapy audio. You can also join HERE!!

Healing Water

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“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come” – Leonardo da Vinci. Water is a cleansing, healing and loving element. We can sense the energy of water by tasting pure spring water, moving our hands through a stream or bowl of water, smelling some salty ocean air, listening and watching the stream hurrying its way. Healing water is everywhere, in our bodies, as a moisture in the air, rivers, oceans, creeks and in all living things. Next wonderful water video is from Conservation International.

The molecules that make up water are constantly changing and moving from one form of water to another. All the time the water evaporates out of the ocean into the air. Later on it again falls as rain and flows from one place to another. Every day, we take some of this water into our bodies. That way the energy of water is also contained within ourselves, our bodies being mostly composed of water (70%). We can only imagine where the water in our bodies has started its journey and where will it travel next?

Water can carry information

There has been numerous studies about water. Masaru Emoto, maybe the most famous of these researchers, has said that water has memory. It has these features, that have to do with transferring and storing information. Emoto claimed, that when you froze a water from pure mountain stream it will form a beautiful crystal pattern, but if water is polluted, the frozen crystal structure will be distorted. Which water would you like to drink?

Water has been used for ages to treat our health. Hot and cold baths, water vapors, warm and cold wraps, showers, different kind of spa treatments, water birthing, floating therapy and many more. The act of floating in warm water reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, muscular tension and heart rate and improves our mood. Floating can also be strong symbolic act of acceptance, trusting the process of life and letting go of all the heavy load weighting us down.

healing water

Healing water – Sounds

Can you hear the rushing creek water splashing on rocks, ocean waves breaking to shore line, the natural sound of flowing water, rain drops hitting to the ground, waterfall’s continuous vertical journey and the energetic movement of all the waters? When ocean waves splash on the shore or over rocks, they produce sound vibrations that aid meditation. We are lulled by the gentle white noise shushing of waves.

Sounds of water flowing enhance the positive mental outlook. We can sit for hours before the rushing waters of a torrent. All conscious thoughts are then lost in this relaxed state of mind. In these moments of idleness, we rearrange our mind.

can you feel the rain

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet – Touch

Purposeful contact with water – dipping ourselves in it, wild swimming, breathing ocean air, letting water touch our skin —provides us with beneficial substances met in natural surroundings. Taking baths in spas in waters of various temperatures with sea salts, mud and minerals has been a treatment for multiple conditions for very long time.

A salt bath provides a medium for deep relaxation and feeds our skin with minerals. Our skin is not only an organ of elimination, like we are familiar with sweating. But skin is also an organ of absorption, and that’s why sea salt baths have great healing potentials. Sea salt contains wide variety of minerals of the ocean and soaking in a bath with it is a powerful remedy. Soaking in the ocean or homemade sea salt bath aids the minerals to be absorbed through the skin.

Sensing living and flowing water on our skin can also be highly spiritual experience. We can kneel by the streamside or seashore. Place our hands above the water and hold them there, just above the water’s surface. We can close our eyes and feel the energy of the water with the palms of our hands. Very slowly we can lower our hands towards the water and finally, touch the body of water. Can you feel how powerful it is? It can put away fire and destroy iron. Water always finds a way. It is persistent and carves new paths even through stone.

Healing water

Healing water – Smell the fresh air

The healing powers of sea air were appreciated already in the Victorian era. One component of its healing equation is negative ions. Negative ions are charged molecules that we cannot feel, see, smell, or taste. The number of negative ions that we inhale, is dependent on the environment around us. Negative ions are abundant in nature, especially around oceans, lakes, waterfalls, at the beach, after a stormy weather and especially near bodies of moving water. They are also very common in mountains and forests. The fresh forest air after rain is pure medicine.

Researchers recently linked the abundance of negative air ions to improved human health and longevity. Negative ions clear the air of many allergens, such as pollen, viruses and molds. They are also effective with home dust and cigarette smoke. There was a study in 2005 in which researchers managed to provoke anxiety, suspicion and mania with the absence of negative ions. On the other hand, polluted cities and crowded areas are the playgrounds for the unhealthy positive ions.

Negative ions tend to peak in the morning and again in the late evening. So, walking along the waterside during these times and doing some deep breathing could be very beneficial for our health.

forest bathing water

Healing water – Taste

When you are extremely thirsty, there is nothing better that a big glass of water. We are lucky in Finland because we have a lot of clean water to drink up straight from the tap. But you can take this still a bit further. Have you ever tasted the spring water straight from the creek? It’s living, free and fresh water.

Here you can find more about living and dead water HERE Easiest way to make your water better and more healing is to show gratitude and love towards it. Simple thank you, thank you, thank you and you will be drinking pure gratitude to nourish your body. The power of healing water is enormous.

Healthy ocean air

Mesmerizing healing water – See

When did you last watch the play of rain drops on the surface of lake or river? Or throw a stone in to the water and enjoyed the hypnotic sight of swirling water. People are very attracted by water. Both children and adults rank water environments among their favorite places. Have you ever dreamed of a house nearby water? A water view can drive up real estate prices beyond the norm. We know, that like green vegetation, also water can play a direct role in our mood and cognitive restoration. Water makes us feel great!

Forest scenes and nature scenes with water promote alpha wave activity and decrease our heart rate. Combination of green and water has emerged as the most valuable environment in terms of elevating mood. Walk along waterside, a creek, river, lake, or ocean, will enlighten our thoughts. Let’s try to catch the first rays of the sunlight. Enjoy generous amounts of negative ions served with shimmers of the rising sun on the surface of water.

Grounding Exercise – Rooting

This grounding exercise guides us back into our body and to the present moment by reconnecting our body with the energies of Mother Earth. This is useful technique if we feel overwhelmed, anxious or dissociated from our environment.

Find a nature place where you feel good, save and secure. You can take a blanket with you and place yourself in a comfortable sitting position on it. You can also lean your back against a tree or even lay down. It doesn’t matter how you settle yourself, but it is important, that you feel comfortable.

Let’s start grounding and connecting with Nature

Feel your entire body relaxing. Breath slowly and deeply. Breath and relax.

You can keep your eyes open or closed, it’s all up to you. If outside thoughts pop into your mind, let them come and let them go. Let everything pass freely, receive and release. Just lay there calm with the nature.

Feel the earth under your body. Under your back, under your legs, arms and head. Lay tightly against the ground or a tree trunk. As the pieces of the puzzle fit together, so fit you with nature.

If it feels comfortable with this grounding exercise, you can slowly immerse yourself deeper and deeper to nature.

See.

Listen.

Feel.

Hear.

Breathe.

Smell.

You can let yourself be one with nature as far as it feels good. Sense nature around you and let it slowly move inside you.

Imagine yourself spreading all over the landscape.

Picture your fingers and toes reaching really really far. Maybe they can even climb inside a tree trunk to peek through the branches. For a moment, live in every tree, in every rock. You have enough space to be yourself completely. You are good enough as yourself. You are valuable and lovable just as you are.

If you feel pleasant being one with nature and grounding yourself, you can continue a bit deeper. Remember, that you have all the control and you go only as far as you feel comfortable. You can feel your body getting heavier and the boundaries between you and the nature are fading.

Imagine, that you have same kind of roots like trees have. In your mind, go underground and notice, that ground beneath you is filled with roots. You can see, that everything is connected and you are part of this beautiful web of life. Wrap your roots around other roots and feel what they feel, sense what they sense. What else do you see there? Look closely and pick some amazing state of affair or detail to memorize later on.

Energy of the Mother Earth

Picture the energy of the Mother Earth like sparkling golden dust. It’s everywhere. Imagine this sparkling golden dust being absorbed into your roots and let it rise slowly up to your body. This beautiful place is becoming a part of you.

Let the energy of the nature flow into you. Vitalizing sparkling golden dust restores you, nurtures your body and mind in the best possible way. You don’t have to know how to do it, it just happens. You realize, that it gives you whatever you need right now, energy, encouragement, balance or clarity. You can handle anything that comes on your way.

Give thanks in whatever way you feel is right for you. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

If you liked this rooting exercise, please share it to your friends, because Richard Louv is right: We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. Or hear. Or sense.

In case you want to read more about starting your forest therapy journey, click HERE. And all my newsletter subscribers receive free forest therapy MP3!

Sunshine to your day!

Heidi

Forest Vitamins Phytoncides

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Forests provide several benefits to mankind. Its vital role in our eco system cannot be overlooked or overstated. They filter our water, provide timber, protect soil, regulate climate and provide a habitat for innumerable animal species and life forms amongst other things. But this time we are going to concentrate on phytoncides.

An essential oil released by trees and plants into the atmosphere called phytoncides (to protect themselves from harmful germs and insects) can also enhance human natural killer cell activity. It can boost immune functions, fight disease, reduce stress and ultimately be beneficial to human health.

In fact, several studies have shown, that exposure to phytoncides promote complete wellness that is devoid of any side effects. Forest bathing is for anyone who wants to achieve natural well-being.

The reality, however, is that city life, borne out of modernization, is fast disconnecting us from nature. Nearly 80% of the people living in the cities do not have access to trees or green spaces.

A study at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, Japan, depicted that people living in the city can actually enjoy all the benefits of phytoncides by spending time in the forest or green spaces. Alternatively, city residents can spend time at parks where they can have access to trees and green views. The study shows, that the beneficial effects of phytoncides on humans can last for more than 30days. Hence, having a habit of once-a-month forest bathing is sufficient for anyone seeking to gain the tremendous advantages of the healing effect of phytoncides. More about the health benefits of forest bathing you can read in my other post HERE

No doubt, taking regular forest bathing trip is a cost-effective way to gain from the natural bounty of nature. Understanding how phytoncides work to benefit humans can motivate you to include at least one forest bathing trip in your monthly routine. As a forest therapy coach, I recommend regular forest bathing for you.

In order to further motivate you to take action, I have drawn the curtain aside to reveal some of the features and benefits of phytoncides and why you should adopt the habit of forest bathing.

What is phytoncide?

Phytoncides are essential aromatic volatile oils that are excrete by plants and trees. Their solutions contain monoterpenoids such as a-pinene, carene, and myrcene. They are anti-microbial substances that help trees to fight diseases and protect them from harmful organisms. In some cases, phytoncides also aid plants to attract insects that help in the pollination process.

Phytoncide substances have been found to significantly increased NK cell activity, number of NK cells, and the intracellular levels of anti-cancer proteins.

How does phytoncides work for humans?

Phytoncides work as anti-microbial in the human body. So, when we breathe in these chemicals, they help to increase the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells (NK). Studies have found that the NK cells help to kill tumors and virus-infected cells in our bodies.

Amazingly, the impact of the inhaled phytoncides lasts for more than 30 days in the human body system.

Aside the fact that a forested environment provides cooler temperature, shady areas, filtered light from the sun, and a higher concentration of oxygen, among other benefits, the air borne plant chemicals called phytoncides have great deal of potentials for human health. The following are some of the health benefits of phytoncides that studies have identified. Researches are currently on-going to discover more benefits of phytoncide chemicals to humans.

Phytoncides boost immune system

Several studies have established the fact that inhaling phytoncides help to increase the number of natural killer cells (NK) and their activities in the body. The NK cells naturally eliminate virus-infected cell in the human system. This self-cleansing process consequently helps to boost the immune system.

In this picture below, you can see the difference between three days spent in forest scenery and respectively in city. Three days nature trip with two hours of forest bathing in a day resulted in 50% increase in NK-cell activity on the second day and the rise was already significant on the first day.

When this same experiment was done in hotel environment by vaporizing phytoncides to hotel room air for 12 hours’ time, the increase in NK-cell activity was 30%. So, the real thing is more effective! (And this was also tested without phytoncides and it did not affect NK activity.)

Forest vitamins help prevent cancer

Researchers opine that living in heavily forested areas could significantly decrease risk of early mortality associated with cancer. A study in Japan found that populations that lived in areas with more trees reported lower rate of several different types of cancer. Thus, more researches in Japan and around the world are currently exploring the extent to which exposure to forests can help prevent certain kinds of cancer.

Three days nature trip with two hours of forest bathing in a day increased anti-cancer proteins perforin by 26 percent, granzymes by 17-20 percent and granulysin by 26 percent. After 30 days, their levels were still slightly elevated.

Phytoncides reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and work as antibiotics

Several studies have shown that the components in phytoncides exhibit antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, that help to reduce blood pressure. Some experts agree that these characteristics of phytoncides make it an ideal alternative to medication in drug-eluting stents (DES) for cardiovascular patients. This medicinal function was linked to the antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory effects of monoterpenoids. This kind of prescription does not have negative side effects common to most drugs.

In picture below, you can see how phytoncides have managed to work as a substitute for antibiotics or antifungals. It’s amazing, how phytoncide oil beats antibiotics when fighting against legionella bacteria!

Vitamin N relieves stress

When you take a forest bathing trip, you breathe in the fresh air from the forested environment. The air borne phytoncides in the oxygen rich cool environment instantly gives you a relief from stress. They also help to increase focus and improve your mood. Of course, spending time in nature, looking at plants, water, and birds helps us to relax the cognitive portion of the brain, allowing us to focus better with a renewed energy. Overall, phytoncides increase our well-being.

Adrenalin and cortisol are stress related substances in human body. Now I want to concentrate on adrenaline, because it has been reported to inhibit NK-cell activity. Study of three days nature trip with two hours of forest bathing in a day resulted in 36% drop in adrenaline levels.

It has been studied, that stress lowers our immunity and causes diseases. There hasn’t been any specific medication developed to relieve stress. Medicine only treats the symptoms of stress, such as high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, headaches and many more. So, I would highly recommend anyone combating with stress to have regular forest bathing trips.

Phytoncides improve mood and increase focus

Forest bathing helps you to focus and remove the fatigue associated with our ever-busy daily routines. Konkuk University tested 80 students brain waves, short term memory and power of concentration while they were working on a task, that demanded full attention. Then students inhaled phytoncides and did again a task, that required high concentration. As a result, the alpha waves (helps us to calm down when necessary and relax) increased remarkably and beta waves (too much beta may lead us to experience stress or anxiety) decreased. Also, short term memory and concentration power tests showed meaningful increase.

That before mentioned study of three days hotel visit, which affected on NK-cell activity did also have effect on test subjects’ mood according to POMS. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) is a psychological rating scale used to assess distinct mood states. Phytoncide exposure decreased the scores for tension/anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, fatigue and confusion. Most dramatic was the decrease of the scores of fatique.

Forest compounds increase the ability to focus, even in children with ADHD

It has also been suggested that phytoncide can help children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to focus better. Some studies have affirmed that kids who spend time in natural forested areas often show a reduction in attention fatigue. More also, children diagnosed with ADHD have been found to show a reduction in related symptoms when exposed to phytoncide through forest bathing. This is cost-effective and free of any kind of side effects.

Countless uses of phytoncides

Nature, forests and phytoncides have always been part of our lives. And we can only imagine the magnitude of things affected by them. Research finds constantly more and more uses for phytoncides.

In addition to above mentioned facts, you can use phytoncides for example to exile house dust mites. They cause allergies, asthma and atopy. Killing house dust mites isn’t enough, because also their remains cause health problems. Phytoncides are effective repellent for them. After 24 hours 90% of house dust mites avoided fiber infected by phytoncides.

Chungbuk University’s Animal Medical Institute has tested phytoncide oil to sterilize main bacteria that causes plaque and also bird flu virus. Phytoncides are also effective in acne treatments, to exile bacteria that causes scurf and in increasing hair growth. I wonder, what else we are going to find out about the necessity of phytoncides in coming years.

Deforestation, lack of phytoncides and illnesses

Forests cover about 31 percent of the world’s land surface and here in Finland staggering 72 percent. Luckily, the net annual rate of forest loss has slowed down from 0.18 percent in the early 1990’s to 0.08 percent. With forest area diminishing by the year, inadvertently comes the growing risk of losing the priceless benefits and protection we now enjoy.

The more humans interfere or alter their environment, transmission of diseases get worse. I wonder if clear cutting and deforestation increases diseases in those areas? Some people think that SARS was caused by the destruction of the forests in the Kuangdong area of China. The air is no more living air if it lacks phytoncides. The destruction of forest means the disappearance of phytoncides.

As mutant viruses have become worldwide issue, and various syndromes caused by the chemical substances become real problems, the interests on phytoncides will certainly be increased. Or what do you think?

Smelling Some Forest Medicine

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Have you ever noticed, that certain smells provoke particular memories in you? Maybe even some long-forgotten memories from childhood?

Our brain handles smells in the same regions as it handles memories and emotions. Our sense of smell is linked to our limbic system. It is in the middle of our brain.  Limbic system affects our learning, motivation, storing memories, sensory perception and even regulates our hormones. That’s why scents can trigger very vivid and emotional memories.

Can you remember the scent of a fresh-cut grass? Maybe the smell of a new school book when you open it for the first time? Do you recall the scent of your mother’s perfume?

Smelling your memories

When I smell the specific brand of cigarette, I get this very strong and vivid picture from my childhood. No matter where that cigarette smell comes from, but it makes me feel very safe and loved. The reason is, that my dad has always been a heavy smoker and that odor of Colt Tobacco was there when I fell asleep in his lap as a little girl. The memory is very precise. His legs were certain way and I can remember many of his shirts and even the feel of the material.

If you have had really bad and unpleasant experiences from earlier years, the memories of those happenings can stay hidden and forgotten until they are triggered by something. It could be a situation, sight or sound, but the most powerful awakener is smell.

Improve your memory with scents

You can also take advantage of this powerful effect that smells have on your memory. Many of us study or our kids go to school and scents are an effortless way to enhance our learning abilities. There are few great scents to use for better learning, memory and concentration, such as rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus and sage. They have known to improve performance in cognitive tasks.

Of course, to get the full benefit, you should use the same scent, when you are in exam or test situation to remember more details and to recall things vividly. There has been research on this matter and smells has proven to be even more effective than background music. When you combine learning with scents, you also remember things for longer period.

Many uses of scents

This power of scents hasn’t gone unnoticed by marketers. Scents can significantly affect our decision-making process. We all know Nike. They managed to increase sales by 80% adding a delicate scent to their shops. The sense of smell is a straight pathway to our feelings and we feel faster than we think.

Aromatherapy offers us an opportunity to fine-tune the advantages of individual plant scents. There was a study 2002 where two separate groups of workers were exposed to different scents. Other group were smelling rosemary and another lavender. The rosemary group had significantly better memory versus the lavender group, which in turn had diminished working memory. Rosemary group did also better in attention-based tasks than lavender group. Studies has also shown, that impairments in the processing of smell is linked to anxiety and ADHD.

Smelling some forest medicine

Well, you may wonder how does this all resonate with forest therapy? When we smell something in forest or in natural settings, we are breathing in the fragrance of the forest. If you have been with me for a while, you already know that phytoncides (forest fragrance) has multiple health benefits. You can refresh your memory here

When we breathe in vitamin “nature”, our body’s response is instant. Vitamin N affects directly on the brain’s mental and emotional responses and on our body chemistry. It’s known in medical field that drugs, such as hormones or vaccines affect immediately through the nasal route. And now they have found out, that the intranasal route is an entrance to the brain for a much wider variety of substances than believed before.

You may have noticed that forests which have different trees in them, smell different. This is due to diverse aromatic components emitted by different trees and plants. Even if you can smell some flowering plants and identify them by their scent, your sense of smell fails to recognize individual phytoncides. A single tree or plant can release several dozen aromatic chemicals. But even though you can’t put the name on these aromas, it doesn’t mean that they have no effect on your health.

So, when we are forest bathing, plant-derived vapours, can enter the brain and into our body’s blood circulation. In forest, there is always a natural combination of plant aromas available, so our walkabout through the forest can be both uplifting and stimulating or relaxing and calming. I tend to believe, that forest and our body know what we need and provide us just the perfect mixture of forest medicine.

Purpose of two nostrils

Have you ever wondered why you have two nostrils? You may have noticed, that face holes usually come in pairs. With two eyes and two ears we can see three dimensional, see depth, hear the directions of sounds and have an idea how far they are coming from. But our nostrils are too close to each other to handle this kind of job. There is still a purpose for two of them.

It’s kind of funny how our nostrils work in shifts of six hours and they take turns of being a high-flow or low-flow nostril. The high-flow nostril smells different aromas and chemicals than the low-flow nostril. Some compounds are meant to stay in our nose for longer time than others and our nose knows how to handle this job. This makes it even more obvious, that our body is smarter than we think.

Important vitamin N

Since these forest chemicals don’t go through our metabolism in the same way as carbohydrates, fats and proteins, we don’t think about them as frequently. We don’t monitor our vitamin N intake the same way as we do our vitamin D intake, we don’t see forest medicine listed on any food ingredients labels or consider them much in our daily life.

Phytoncides, forest chemicals, vitamin N, forest medicine or whatever you wish to call them are as vital for our health and well-being as are the other components of our diet. And when shopping, it’s great to know, that phytoncides increase our critical decision making! In my next post, I wish to cover the health benefits of phytoncides more thoroughly.

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi

Earthing – Reconnecting with Nature for Healthier Living

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Earthing is one of the natural therapies nature has bestowed upon us as a kind of self-healing mechanism. Nature has a way of healing the body system without us being aware. In fact, there are several therapies, that nature offers us, without us even knowing it. Earthing is one of such natural therapeutic phenomenon that nature has built into our livelihood right from the time of the early men.

So, today, I’m going to share with you one of the foremost therapy known to man and some of it numerous benefits. Chances are you’re hearing about “earthing” or “grounding” for the first time. Such ignorance is permissible, given the level at which modern technological advancements have eroded our traditional practices and heritages. However, this therapy has been with man since existence. So, the question now is; what is earthing?

What is Earthing?

Simply put, earthing is the act of walking barefooted. When you walk barefoot on sand, grass or on the beach water, you are connected with earth’s free electrons which are taken up into your body to provide healing effects. The earth is a conductor, likewise all living things on the planet, including humans. Our body is composed of mostly of water and minerals which are good conductors of electrons from the earth. So, the human body attracts earth’s energy once there is direct skin contact or some other conductive channel for them to flow through.

Historical Relevance of Earthing

Historically, human beings, prior to the advent of modern materials such as shoes, carpets, plastic, etc., have been walking, sitting, and sleeping on the ground as way of life, thereby staying connected with nature. The pre-modern people were aware of these healing effects of earthing, so they stay connected with the mother earth through their occupations by cultivating their land with bare hands and spent a lot of their time naturally grounded.

Indeed, earthing therapy has a lot of benefits for the human well-being. Walking barefoot will not only strengthen your feet, ankles, cure chronic pains, inflammation, insomnia, improve nervous system, eye-sight, immune system, controls blood pressure, hormonal imbalance but can also improve your posture, relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, it protects body from electromagnetic fields, slows down aging and helps healing injuries faster.

Overall, walking barefoot can improve both your mental and physical health.  So, it doesn’t matter your age, gender, race or health status, you can benefit from a daily dose of earthing.

Our Modern Dilemma

But let’s face it, most of the activities and challenges of modern life often put us far away from nature and at the risk of damaging health conditions. Today, unlike our ancestors, we put on insulated rubber and leather shoes, sleep in beds and homes off the ground, make use of materials such as plastics, synthetic fabrics, asphalt, carpets, and vinyl, which separates us from connecting with nature.

To worsen it all, we all use mobile phones, wi-fi, microwaves, and other home appliances, which bombard us continuously with excess free radicals that are dangerous to our tissues and cells.

Really, you would be surprise what you stand to gain if you could spend at least half an hour everyday to reconnect with nature despite your busy schedule. In fact, if you’ve always felt unwell, stressful, and mentally unbalance without actually putting undue pressure on yourself, earthing might be the therapy you need.

When we are isolated from the earth by non-conductive materials such as shoes, plastic, carpets, and flooring surfaces, our body tend to display the fatigue syndrome. The disconnection from the mother earth often results in a decrease in the number and activity of natural killer cells, that fights against viruses and diseases.

Now, let me show you some of the benefits of earthing and reasons why you should imbibe the habit of going barefoot to connect with nature.

Benefits of Earthing

Whenever you make direct contact with the ground surface, your body receives a charge of energy that makes you feel better, energetic, and mentally alert. In fact, several researches have shown that connecting to the Earth’s natural energy by walking barefoot on sand, grass, or rocks can help diminish chronic pain, fatigue and other illnesses that are plaguing us today.

In my humble opinion, if you are still thinking that barefoot walking is uncivilized, going through the list of earthing’s benefits I mention below will make you to think otherwise. Earthing therapy helps to…

  • Increase body’s energy and vitality
  • Improve wellness and mental alertness
  • Eliminate chronic pain
  • promote deeper sleeping
  • Reduce stress and facilitate body calmness by improving the nervous system and stress hormones
  • Relieve headaches and suppress muscle tension
  • Accelerate the healing process of injuries
  • Normalize the body’s biological functions
  • Control blood pressure and improve blood flow
  • Improve or eliminate the symptoms of any inflammation related disorders
  • Lessen menstrual pains
  • Protect the body against potentially health damaging environmental electromagnetic fields
  • Strengthen your feet and ankles
  • Relieve anxiety and depression
  • Slow down aging

I’m sure after seeing the above-mentioned benefits of earthing, you will be motivated to make it your daily tonic. I don’t want you to see earthing as just another gimmick. Give it a trial. I’m certain you will come back to share your thoughts.

A note of caution

Although I’m certain that earthing will help you to improve your life, it is not a magic cure or a substitute for medical treatment. Hence, I recommend that if you have a medical condition, you should see your healthcare provider.

In conclusion, practicing earthing regularly can keep you away from the doctor’s office since this therapy has the potential to help the body to regenerate and normalize its biological functions. As, you master the act of daily earthing, you tend to move gradually closer to nature, appreciate your environment more, and start to experience a complete state of well-being.

If this post motivated you at all, I suggest, that you decide to become an earthing enthusiast like me. The bottom line is that it costs you nothing! Please let me know about your experiences!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi