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.

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

Singapore Gone Wild – Nature Connection in Urban Settings

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Finally I get to tell you about our trip to Singapore! There was some difficulties on the way in form of broken cellphone and lost camera cord. But now everything is working again perfectly. I have to emphasize, that when I first stepped my foot on Singapore to cover this blog post, I somehow sensed that a once in a lifetime nature connection experience was at hand. I was certain, that I would fall in love with Singapore’s wild inhabitants of forests and beautiful gardens.

Singapore is a country that remains juxtaposed with the new and the old. Endowed with a full range of spectacular attractions to boost your nature experience, holidaying in Singapore is a promise of extraordinary experience. We saw really clearly, that we were in extremely clean city. There was no carbage anywhere and a 500 dollar fine was set for drinking or eating in public places.

As a nature connection coach, I am always inspired by ways to connect to nature. This was easy in Singapore through some forest therapy exercises and just by taking in the garden atmosphere. It’s surprising how one can get awed by the healing power of nature in this metropolis. There is so much nature in this city!

While in Singapore, I visited two of Singapore’s best nature attractions namely, Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Zoo. But I must mention, that the whole Singapore is really a City in the Garden.

Gardens by the Bay

Located on the edge of Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is a nature park that offers a spectacular view of the cutting-edge garden and abundant green vegetation. I was particularly wowed by the Avatar-esque “super-tree” structure, that stands at 165 ft. The impressive vertical gardens cloaked with bromeliads, fern, and tropical climbing plants. They provided a picturesque view to spice up my nature experience. These super-trees are especially beautiful in the evening. When the darkness falls there is a spectacular light show.

Flower Dome

There is more to nature attractions that meets the eye. We began by exploring the Gardens by the Bay starting with the iconic temperature-controlled Flower Dome conservatory. Flower Dome is the largest column-free greenhouse in the world. There is a whole range of beautiful vegetation from semi-tropical and Mediterranean regions. It features thousand-year-old olive trees and unusual Baobabs. This makes it an ideal place to experience a thrilling connection with ancient trees. Too bad, that it was not allowed to touch those impressive entities.

While exploring Flower Dome, I began with Succulent garden, that displays water-storing desert plant such as Aloes, Cactus, and Crassulae. The Bottle Trees, the African Baobabs, and the crystal palace dessert integrated with stunning installations provide a breath-taking nature view.

Cloud Forest

The exit of Flower Dome leads directly to the beautiful Cloud Forest. It boasts a man-made cloud mountain that is 115 ft tall and equipped with an indoor waterfall clad in lush foliage. You can take an elevator up to the Lost World at the summit for a better view. This wasn’t such a funny part for my kind person who is afraid of heights.

Inside the Lost World, you get engulfed in a spectacular view of unique vegetation. You’ll meet for instance the dangerous pitcher plants, elevated 2000 meters above sea level.

Going down through the Cloud Walk, I couldn’t help but appreciate the wild orchids, anthurium, and ferns that planted beautifully around the walls of the mountain. As an ardent lover of animals, I walked past the Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes. It was amazing to discover the numerous birds and insects that hail in this place.

My exploration of the Gardens by the Bay was really enchanting. The beautiful green landscape just takes your breath away. Although my experience was great, I lacked the deep connection with nature due to hustle and bustle with my kids and other tourists. But I must admit, that the famous super-tree structures offer an impressive view like no other place in the world.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo is another heart-stopping and thrilling Singapore attraction that I couldn’t leave Singapore without visiting. Especially the kids were waiting to see some wildlife. This unique attraction is claimed to be the world’s best rainforest zoo and boasts of 2800 animals over 300 species. It offers an exciting experience of exploring a vast collection of animals roaming freely in their habitat.

Endowed with abundant wildlife, this magnificent attraction features 11 sections each taking you some of the world’s distinct global wildlife habitats. From Inuka polar bear to gray kangaroos and agile wallabies, the Singapore zoo is surely an ideal place to experience wildlife with kids.

You get an immersive experience and up-close views of the tigers, the sea lion, and more. Other highlights include the Primate Kingdom, the Reptile Garden, the Australasia exhibit, and the Tortoise Shell-ter for viewing endangered animals.

A fantastic destination for family outings, Singapore Zoo offer young ones a wide range of exciting activities. These activities help them appreciate and connect deeply with nature and its creatures.

We were fortunate to visit Singapore Zoo during the Zoo-rassic Park exhibit – an iconic exhibition that teaches about the fifth mass extinction through life – like displays of prehistoric creatures. Kids’ favorite exhibition was the misty stroll through Dinosaur Valley coming up-close with more than 20 dinosaurs especially the majestic T-Rex. And I loved those too!

Singapore Zoo is wonderful place to connect with nature through nature sounds and nature’s colors as well as coming closer to world’s most incredible animals.

City in the Garden

In the efforts to conserve Singapore’s diversity and green the landscape, the country embarked on ambitious plans to develop a garden city. From Garden in a City to a City in the Garden. Singapore’s efforts of greening the city has made a remarkable progress. The streets have been made more vibrant with blooming flowering species of plants. Also the roads are lined with big rain trees and nature parks are greened with many natural plants.

Singapore has it all, from living walls, to lush roof gardens and huge rain trees. The plan to transform Singapore into a City in a garden has seen the city establish world-class gardens. Those are used for botanical research as well as breath-taking world-class attraction showcasing Singapore’s rich heritage. One of these is the Singapore Botanic Garden.

Singapore Botanic Garden

Like a local, I set out to explore Singapore Botanic Garden by going for a jog. I run through the meandering pathways beautified by lush greenery. The Botanic Gardens features a full range of horticultural and botanical attractions of wonderful plant collections. It offers a pretty neat nature connection experience as you appreciate the Singapore’s efforts to conserve natural heritage.

After indulging in hours of forest bathing, I was feeling great. Strolling around the Gardens of Singapore provides a joyful experience of enjoying the wonderful sights, the sounds and wonders the lush greenery presents. As a nature connection coach, I couldn’t be more pleased about the efforts that Singapore has done to make this beautiful city greener.

Time to move on to Bali

After four days, my holiday in Singapore was over and it was time to head to Bali. I was so happy for this opportunity to spend time in some of the most spectacular horticultural and architectural attractions in the world. I had taken in the green atmosphere of Singapore and witnessed wonderful sights of nature. This trip will always remain unforgettable in our lives. Who would’ve imagined, that you can experience nature such a deep way in this kind of metropolis. I hope to see you soon again!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi

Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality

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Sooo nice to see you here! I have to tell you something. It’s a bit awkward and I feel ashamed already beforehand, but I have to confess something. I have a kind of love and hate relationship with houseplants.

It’s not that I don’t like them, on the contrary, I adore them and love how they look and what kind of atmosphere they create in home, but I have never really gotten into their pretty little heads. They are like horses to me, I have only dogs and cats, I just can’t figure out what they want.

It’s a bit scary, that my plants are totally at my mercy. If they would be growing outside, mother nature would take care of their needs just perfectly. Well, lucky for my plants, I have my mother-in-law, who knows everything there is to know about houseplants and gardens.

The reason I try to manage with my plants and keep myself away from plastic ones, is that houseplants gives us some of the benefits of nature without actually needing to visit a forest. It’s a fact, that keeping plants alive indoors can prove next to impossible to some of us, but the gain is so great, that it just has to be done!

Okay, plants have some basic needs, like water, light, nutrients, support and air. It’s important to keep in mind, that for us humans, it is not good to over-do things and same goes for our plants. Excessive amounts of drink and food is often a bad thing, even if it is necessary for survival. If you are like me, you are now shaking your head and thinking “whaaat, me over watering”?! For me, the time flies so fast, that it is hard to remember to water my plants regularly.

Houseplants improve air quality

It’s time for me to stop beating myself up and move on to the amazing things, that houseplants can make happen in our homes. They clean the air and actually make it a living thing with forest vitamins. This is a vital matter for people’s health, because each of us breathes over 3,000 gallons of air each day. The air cleaning capabilities of plants goes far and beyond simple removal of carbon dioxide (which humans and pets exhale) and replacing it with clean oxygen.

Houseplants also have the exceptional ability to remove toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide from the air. Those chemicals are particularly a major health threat for people living and working in newly built homes and commercial office spaces. The main reason for this is, that new constructions are built to be especially energy-efficient. In the old times, buildings leaked so much air, that there was enough circulation even with closed windows.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “people living and working in buildings of manmade materials inhale over 300 contaminants every day.” Living in urban environments, we are surrounded by concrete, traffic, noise, bright lights and pollution. In addition to that, today people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. That kind of lifestyle has a profound impact on our physical and mental well-being and it also makes the air quality an important matter to consider.

Bad chemicals are present almost everywhere

First let’s check out formaldehyde, which is found in products, such as furniture, wall paper, cardboard and even facial tissues. It is also used in stuff, like paints, dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, and nail polish. Because, it is so common in many products, it is present in almost all homes and buildings. Studies have shown, that it may cause asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing and in higher amounts even cancer.

Then there is a group of chemicals, VOC’s, which are found in all petroleum products, but there are many other sources, such as flooring adhesives, furniture, paints and other coatings, electronic equipment, cleaning products and even air fresheners. VOC’s are not acutely toxic, but they have compounding long-term health effects, such as respiratory, allergic and immune effects especially among children.

Also trichloroethylene is a very common indoor pollutant being released from paints, dry cleaning, pesticides, adhesives and addition to that inks used in copy machines and printers. It causes irritation of the nose and throat and depression of the central nervous system and in higher concentrations it can cause reduced eyesight, unconsciousness and irregularities in heartbeat.

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas, which is mainly produced from open fires, gas stoves and heaters. It can also be found in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust. Exposure to carbon monoxide causes dizziness and headaches, higher concentrations can lead to death, because the chemical prevents the delivery of oxygen to the body’s cells.

Benzene, Toluene and Xylene are found in the vapor of products, such as gasoline, oils, paints, glues, inks, plastics, and rubber. These three pollutants are skin and eye irritants and are known as carcinogens, they have connection to leukemia.

Bring green inside your home

Greenery softens every harsh environment. It is like a magic potion to ease stress and fatigue. Simply having a view of greenery is proven to increase workplace productivity. You can only imagine, what a real living plant can do! Well, according to studies, it decreases the number of sick days and helps people negotiate with better mutual understanding. Isn’t that just great! Also gardens have been found beneficial in hospital surroundings to calm patients, ease their pains and making the time of recovery shorter.

You may think here, that why not to use a high-tech air purifier to make fresh air for your family to breath. But if you look this from a practical point of few, plants are a much cheaper and they make living spaces more enjoyable and cozier than a plastic piece of electronic.

The best houseplants to improve indoor air quality are aloe plant, english ivy, rubber tree, peace lily, snake plant, bamboo palm, philodendron, spider plant, red-Edged dracaena and golden pothos. You can find these practically everywhere and most of them are pretty easy to take care. A plant is usually specialized in neutralizing only few chemicals, so choosing few different ones ensures you the best results.

Caress your senses with houseplants

Smell. Like mentioned earlier, having houseplants provides the same benefits as visiting forest scenery. Houseplants clean the air by absorbing and neutralizing toxic chemicals, they produce oxygen and release phytoncides, forest vitamin. Colorful fresh flowers feed you with beautiful scent and provide color therapy.

Sight. Seeing nature calms us, in fact just seeing the color green does that. So, fill your home with houseplants and some colorful fresh flowers. If you have trees outside, open those curtains.

Sound. My favorite strategy to involve nature sounds in home environment is to play them from YouTube. In summertime, I listen to the real thing from open window. You could also get a little water fountain for some water sounds. Nothing to do with houseplants, but a fantastic thing to bring nature sounds inside.

Taste. Start gardening herbs on your windowsill. It is a useful way to involve tasting. And don’t forget fruits and veggies either!

Feel. Touching our house plants can bring same kind of benefits as touching and playing with our pets.

Are you convinced?

Why do we feel more relaxed and less stressed around green scenery? I think it’s mostly due to our evolutionary ties with natural world and plants. It has been studied, that our eyes can distinguish between 2,000 shades of green, but only 100 shades of red. Isn’t that something! Through human evolution, recognizing a plant’s shade of green was vital, when you were using it for food, shelter or medicine.

In another study, researchers were trying to find out the effects, that plants have on office staff. During randomized periods the subjects were exposed to bare office environments and to ones where plants were within view. As you can imagine, it was found that periods with plants decreased symptoms, such as cough, fatigue and dry / itchy skin. The decrease was between 37% to 23%. In my opinion, those percentages are huge!

Maybe casinos in Las Vegas should consider some plants to go with their interiors. Plants would saturate the place with extra oxygen, so that gamblers would feel more alert and awake. At the moment, many casinos have an expensive system installed, which pumps oxygen-rich air into the ventilation systems to make people stay awake longer and thus gamble more. Why wouldn’t they go with an artistic green wall? As we already know, it’s cheaper, has lower costs, is eco-friendly (less electricity), relentlessly filters the air and has positive physiological benefits.

Have you seen those green walls? I just love them! When we have time and energy to start renovating the basement of our home, I want a big green wall in there. Of course, accompanied with a large sea aquarium and fireplace. Oh, I just love to dream. But for now, I settle for filling my tables and shelves with plant pots and bringing occasionally some fir branches inside to clear the air. Above you can see my home office. It’s tidy sometimes!

Next time I will be writing to you from Singapore. Sooo excited! I hope to see you soon!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi

Too Busy for Forest Therapy? Think Again!

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If you are a busy parent or professional, you probably feel like me, that there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything you need to do. When it feels like you’re working 24 hours a day, fitting in one more thing may seem impossible. But, it isn’t! If you schedule the time to enjoy some forest therapy, you will be able to carve out those extra minutes for yourself.

As a return, you gain the refreshing and healing benefits of forest therapy. I would love to share with you few tips, how you can fit forest therapy in your life without neglecting your family, work or good night’s sleep.

It’s all about making a plan

As a mother of two girls, I can relate to you all who are living busy life. It can become all too easy to get so caught up in the everyday chores, that you completely forget to take some time for yourself.  To prevent this from happening, it is important to schedule nature time for yourself.

Go through this post and consider what elements of forest therapy you could adapt in your everyday life. And then, write them down in your calendar! I assure, that you can quite easily mix forest therapy with following:

  • Family time
  • Time with friends
  • Outside exercise
  • Morning ritual
  • Lunch break
  • Evening ritual

Mix some forest therapy with your family time

Forest therapy could be something, that you and your family could enjoy together. You could make it happen like once a week. That time should be scheduled beforehand. Each week, pick one nature activity for you to do with your children. I have noticed, that kids love when they can participate in the deciding and planing part. So, let them have a say in the activity. Ask them what they would want to do. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but I strongly encourage you to get fully engaged. Here are some suggestions for you to use:

  • Roll down a grassy hill! Yes, you too!!
  • Walk barefoot in different surfaces, such as grass, sand, little rocks…
  • Balance on a fallen tree. Try with closed eyes!
  • Run around in the rain! Feel the rain drops on your face…
  • Play in sandbox and make cool sand cakes 🙂
  • Bury each other with snow or make a snowman!
  • Learn to do a forward roll or cartwheel on a grassy surface! We knew how to do this when we were children!!
  • Have a picnic outside 🙂
  • Read with your children in park or forest scenery…
  • Fly a kite! Feel the wind!
  • Find bugs in the grass. Make it a contest!
  • Plant some herbs inside 🙂
  • Find beautiful stones and other nature treasures…
  • Go wild swimming!
  • Do good! Pick up trash in local park. How much can you find?
  • Imitate a bear, crab or some other animal walking and others try to guess. It’s funny!
  • Or like my daughter, you can play horse riding on a fallen tree 🙂

Combine friend time and forest therapy

Everybody knows this, a busy lifestyle can definitely impact your social life. Now you have a chance to make a conscious effort to reach out and have strong relationships with your friends. Is there a friend who would be pleased, if you would ask her to come for a stroll in a park? You would get some vitamin N and have time to catch up.

Oftentimes, a quick catch-up session with a friend can be exactly what we need. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, that a friend may be nature’s most magnificent creation. So, why not combine those two!

Move one of your weekly exercises outside

Instead of hitting to the gym, go walking or running to the park or forest trail. You can also do nature yoga or stretching at your backyard or enjoy a bike ride. In forest, you can have a full body workout by using rocks and tree trunks, pulling yourself up with branches or doing push-ups with the help of a fallen tree or rock.

Develop your balance and agility by balancing on fallen tree trunks and jumping from rock to another. Move like bear and crawl like crab. The possibilities are endless! This also enhances your creativity. And the best part is, that this can be done with kids and it saves the trouble of finding a nanny!

Include a short nature connection moment to your morning ritual

Have your nature dose served you in the morning! The way in which we start our morning can heavily impact on how we feel throughout the rest of the day, so why not start it off on a good note? Take the first 15 minutes of your morning solely to yourself and have some quiet time.

If it is possible, try to rise with the sun. It is very powerful and energizing experience. If doing this every morning feels daunting, you can make this maybe a friday morning habit. A great way to power up your weekend!

So, set your alarm 10 minutes before the sun rises, so you have time to get a cup of coffee or tea and your favorite warm blanket. It would be great, if you could get outside in a comfortable chair to meet the sun, but it is perfectly ok to set yourself by the window too. Watch how the lightness reclaims the sky. Observe the colors, do they change with the seasons.

Have a lunch break, that will boost your creativity and concentration

To begin, book your lunch-break in calendar and schedule it to happen as often as possible. If your work consists mainly of brain work, it would be really beneficial for you to have an outdoor lunch every day. If it sounds too hard, could you stretch to something like wednesday nature lunch dates? Whatever you decide, commit to it. Even if you’ve got lots of emails to answer and people are asking for you.

Next it is important to plan beforehand where you want to go. If you’re lucky enough to have nice natural surroundings around your office, just step outside. If there’s a park near your office, then head there.

Studies have shown, that short walks in natural settings improved concentration and working memory by 20%.  Spend time in nature to refresh your attention span and then you can return to work with renewed focus.

When you are having lunch in nature, let yourself enjoy clouds moving across the sky, leaves rustling in a breeze or water bubbling over rocks in a stream. These natural elements give your brain a break from stressful work. They tickle the other parts of your brain than logical work tasks do.

Natural settings also enhance your creativity. According to one study, participants stayed tree days in wilderness and afterwards their creativity test scores were 50% better. Therefore, regular outside lunch breaks will make you more productive in your work by improving your memory, concentration and creativity.

Evening routine with nature elements and thankfulness

You probably already have your own evening routine to carry out before going to bed. Can you find there an extra 10-15 minutes? Evening is a great time to do a gratitude exercise. First, create your own beautiful nature spot or altar. It can be a small table or one shelve in a bookshelf. Gather some beautiful stones, sea shelves, feathers, moss or lichen, driftwood shaped by the sea or cute small plant and be creative. Make it yours!

Finally, add a pretty jar, pen and paper on your nature spot. When everything is set, you can finish your day spending few minutes next to this nature art of yours. You can also touch and hold your treasures and try to silence your mind from the hustle and bustle of the day.

I think, that at the end of the day, it is nice to think about the good stuff. So, remind yourself of one thing each evening, that you are grateful for, and write it down on a paper. It can be anything – a huge one or the tiniest one. There are days, when it is hard to find anything to be happy about, but believe me, there is good in every single day. When you are done with your writing, drop the paper in the jar and watch your blessings piling up. On dark days, you can read some of these blessings and feel better.

Make daily forest therapy a routine!

What routine did you like the best? I hope there was something, that you can incorporate in your life. Pick the ones, that felt the best. You can go with spending nature time with kids once a week and giving 10 minutes of your evening for gratitude and nature elements. A morning person can wake up with sun every now and then and make forest dates with friends once a week. Or maybe you would gain the greatest benefit from outdoor lunch and the concentration boost it gives for your work.

Most importantly, make it doable, make it your priority and stick to it! Make it a routine, that benefits you everyday. This is not a diet, we are trying to maximize your true potential!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi

Improve Your Life with Forest Therapy: 8 Proven Facts

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Every now and then, I meet someone who has started doing nature connection exercises, but they have no clear vision why. Now I am going to give you 8 strong and sound whys!

Research has proven, that spending time in anything to do with nature, like forests, the sea or wildlife – restores us. It help us to manage stress. Studies show, that even having an indoor plant or picture of forest scenery makes a difference to our health.

Phytoncides

I am so excited to tell you how forest therapy can improve your health. Several factors have been found to produce the health improvements in forest therapy. They work best together and sometimes it is hard to distinguish, which one has done the most part of the healing process. A major player here is phytoncides. They are fragrances emitted by forest trees.

Phytoncides have various functions, such as controlling the growth of the tree, insecticide, anti-fungal, antibacterial and many other medical actions. Mainly phytoncides are produced to help plants and trees protect themselves from harmful insects and germs.

Vitamin N and our Immune system

When we inhale phytoncides, forest fragrance, it gets into your body to boost our immune system. Our bodies respond to these phytoncides by increasing the number and activity of one type of white blood cells called natural killer cells. These NK cells kill tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies. One study has brought up a result, that 3-days exposure to phytoncides increased NK cell activity by 40% and the effect lasted for 30 days.

It is believed, that phytoncides were at least partly responsible for the positive effects on NK cell activity. Researchers have also tested phytoncides in laboratory settings. These tests confirmed, that phytoncides increase anti-cancer proteins and improve natural killer cell activity. That makes monthly forest walks a notable mean to fight cancer. It could even have a preventive effect on cancer development.

“3-days exposure to phytoncides

increased NK cell activity 40%

and the effect lasted for 30 days”

The healing effect of phytocides is also accessible in home environment. You can for example vaporize oil from cypress tree. In one study, three days’ exposure to vaporized phytoncides increased NK cell activity by 20%.

The healing benefits of nature cannot be fully explained with only phytoncides. Also, the green scenery, different shapes, soothing sounds of streams and birds, sunlight, negative ions, and natural aromas of wood, plants and flowers play a huge role. This indicates, that our health is dependent on the health of our natural environment. We are supposed to take care of each other.

Lower blood sugar

A Japanese study with nearly hundred adults diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, has something interesting to offer. During six years’ research, participants had a walk in nine different occasions. Walks took place in forest surroundings and half of the group walked 3 kilometers, and other half walked 6 kilometers. At the end of the study, researchers found that participants had lower blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity compared to results in the beginning.

Important notion is, that ofcourse, any form of exercise helps to improve blood sugar regulation in people with diabetes. Researchers thought, that factors to do with forest had a major role in improvement of blood sugar levels. There was two reasons for that conclusion. First, the forest walks were so infrequent, that they did not exactly have a workout effect.  And secondly, the blood sugar levels were not significantly different between those who walked the longer trail and those who walked the short one.

Better concentration, enhanced cognitive skills and improved memory

Our lives are busier than ever with jobs, school, family life and all that addictive technology. Trying to focus for long periods of time, can be mentally draining. But when spending time in nature, looking at plants, listening to the sound of water and birds, the cognitive brain gets a break. Spending time in nature helps us to concentrate and that way increases even our productivity.

Forest therapy also improves our working memory. In one study, a bunch of students took a memory test and then they were divided into two groups. The other one took a walk in a park and the other walked in the city street. When the participants returned, and did the test again, those who had walked in nature did almost 20% better compared to the first test. The city group did not consistently improve their results.

“The effect was as dramatic as

the effects of Ritalin, they said”

A research in the United States, has investigated the effects of nature on ADHD in children. They studied 17 children diagnosed with ADHD and exposed them to three different environments: city park, downtown and residential settings. After 20-minute walks in a city park, children experienced improved concentration compared to groups that walked 20 minutes in other settings. The effect was as dramatic as the effects of Ritalin, they said.

Natural environment have been examined as a complementary treatment for children with attention deficit disorder. Nature as a medicine has advantages of being widely accessible, inexpensive and free of any negative side effects.

Forest Scenery Reduces Stress

According a Japanese study, forest settings were associated with lower levels of cortisol, slower heart rates, lower blood pressure and enhanced activity of parasympathetic nervous system. Parasympathetic nervous system promotes relaxation. The study measured these attributes within two groups, other spend time in forest and other in city.

There have also been stress related studies, that measure salivary cortisol levels and they have had same kind of results. Even just gazing at forest scenery for 20 minutes reduces salivary cortisol levels by 13.4%. Cortisol is the stress hormone, that over prolonged periods can harm our immune system, along with other negative effects.

Looking at pictures of trees and nature sceneries has a similar, but less striking effects. Researchers have concluded that, forest trips may effectively decrease the risk of stress-related diseases. That is important finding, because stress is modern societys plague.

Enhanced mental health, mood and creativity

Researchers found, that forest trips significantly decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue in Mood States test. In one study, almost 500 Japanese adults were surveyed on days they spent time in a forest and on days they spent in their normal environment. The study revealed that, compared to their normal surroundings, inside a forest the participants reported less depression and hostility, and felt more alive.

In another research, test subjects with depression diagnose, were assigned to four-week long forest therapy program. They were tested before and after. The results were staggering. The depression test showed 50% improvement.

“Nature as a medicine has advantages of being

widely accessible, inexpensive

and free of any negative side effects.”

It is important to notice, that the greater the level of stress is, the greater is the positive effect of forest therapy. Nature’s positive impact on depression and stress is even greater when combined with workout or the presence of water. Maybe forest walks could reinforce existing treatments for depression.

In many studies, green environment improved also person’s self-esteem and increased creativity. Three days of hiking and camping in the wilderness increased creativity test scores by 50% according to a joint study by the University of Kansas and University of Utah.

Forest therapy lessens experienced pain and boosts recovery

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studied the effects of nature scenery and nature sounds on participants’ pain perception. Researchers came to conclusion, that viewing a nature scenery and listening to nature sounds is a safe and inexpensive way to reduce pain.

It has also been discovered, that patients recover faster from surgery, when they have a nature view. Patients also managed with fewer painkillers and had fewer postsurgical complications compared to those who had no nature view.

Improved eyesight especially among children

In particular, among children, outdoor activities have protected eyes and reduced the risk of developing nearsightedness. There has been a study, that followed almost 2,000 children for two years and came to conclusion, that more time spent outdoors resulted a lower prevalence of myopia among 12-year-olds. Important discovery is, that this result wasn’t found among kids who spent a lot of time playing sports indoors. In Taiwanese school, increase in outdoor play resulted in 52% decrease in rate of myopia. That’s an outstanding discovery.

Playing in nature settings forces you to look alternating long and short distance. Nature is also rich with colors and shapes, which gives your eyes a much-needed workout. Nature offers a good environment for other kinds of workouts too.

Better physical fitness

Then there is of course the physical side. Walking in nature prevents obesity and enhances your fitness. That is a commonly accepted truth. In forest environment you usually move on uneven ground. That means a serious workout for your core muscles, when trying to stabilize your body.

I’m really fond of the idea of natural movement. One of these is called MovNat. It is comprehensive and holistic approach and it uses the full range of natural human movement abilities. MovNat consider modern human as a zoo-human. And to be honest, they are somewhat right. Our nowadays workouts do consist of series of monotonic and artificial movements.

I hope, that you find these health benefits of nature as amazing as I do. Well, this was really thick and kinda theoretical commentary. I wish you survided with minimal discomfort and I’ll promise to be more easy going next time. See you soon!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi

Start Your Journey

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Are you ready?

Relax. Take it slow. Picture yourself exactly where you are now. Are you ready to take a little nature connection journey with me? Good, let’s go.

Find the nearest door and find your way outside. There’s no need to go far, just find a tree. A big one with deep green colors.

Look up to the leaves at the top of the tree? Notice all the different shades of green. Can you find the lightest green? Is there a hint of yellow somewhere?

Can you feel the air on your face? Maybe a little breeze? Breathe long and slow.

What do you see? Describe it silently to yourself.

Put your fingers on your neck. Can you feel the pulse of your blood? Can you hear it? Can you, if you try really hard?

Listen to other sounds too. Can you hear wind playing with the branches? What else do you hear? A distant conversation maybe, or are you totally alone?

Breathe again. Long, deep and slow.

Can you hear the breath coming out of your nose? Can you feel it with your hand?

Look at the tree again. When you breath in, the tree breaths out. Breath slowly… When you breath out, the tree breaths in. You are in the same rhythm.

If you want to stay for a while, to breath with the tree, you can do so. Take all the time you need. And if there is anything in this moment or in this experience, that you would like to take with you, you can do so.

Are you ready to get back inside? Move slowly to the exact place where we started our journey. Move you fingers and stretch your neck. You are back.

Mind – Body – Nature

Thank you for taking this little journey with me. Can I then explain you my idea of a human as a combination of mind, body and nature. From the psychological stand point, we humans are usually seen disconnected from our body and our natural environment. Therapist treats our mind and the social aspect of our environment, but forgets our body and the natural world around us.

On the other hand, if we examine this matter from hikers, gardeners or nature lovers point of view, we come to conclusion, that nature actually has some value. But in most cases, it is only recreational value.

“Nature is not a place to visit. It’s home.

We live in it and it lives in us.”

Some folks tend to think, that they are starring this show of live. They see, that the rest of this stuff in the world is only something like props or decoration. But it really isn’t so. I think, that every human, bird, spider, blade of grass or stone, has its own vital role in this show of life. That role should be respected as it is, without trying to humanize it. Tree is a tree and we don’t need to see trees humanlike, but we need to respect them as living beings.

I see human as a mind-body-nature combination. Nature is not a place to visit. It’s home. We live in it and it lives in us.

The benefits of nature connection

Because we are so intertwined with nature, we may have developed some attachments towards places or sceneries. We may have pleasant childhood memories to do with nature, such as watching clouds, observing ladybugs, picking flowers or spending time with our family in countryside. And if we see harm done to these surroundings, it hurts us inside. However, it doesn’t work like that with everybody.

It would be beneficial for both parties, nature and human, to have a deep meaningful relationship. We cannot protect something, that we don’t love. And we cannot love what we don’t know. Before we can know something, we must sense, hear or see it. And that’s what we are going to make happen here in Forest Therapy Today! And now I’ll tell what’s in it for you.

Benefits of nature time

1. Improved immunity (cancer and NK-cells)
2. Lower blood sugar
3. Better concentration, learning capabilities and memory
4. Stress relief (blood pressure etc.)
5. Mental health, mood and creativity
6. Lessened experienced pain and boosts recovery
7. Improved eyesight
8. Better physics and sense of well-being

These impacts on our well-being start in that very minute, when we come to nature. The more we spend time in nature, the bigger the impact, but you can start with as little as five minutes. It’s totally up to you.

Besides, when you’re in the present, experience always matters more than duration. The most important thing is to start the journey. And I think, that when your relationship with nature deepens, you will have more to share with each other.

You get the benefits even if your relationship with nature sucks

To get the benefits, that nature offers us, we don’t need to especially like nature. Nature doesn’t sense that we are scared, suspicious or even disgusted. It grants its gifts for anyone who crosses its path. It doesn’t criticize and its acceptance is unlimited. Woody Allen once said, “I love nature, I just don’t want to get any of it on me”.

Technology and forest therapy

There is one more thing with what I would like to wrap this up. It’s about the contradiction between nature and technology. Some forest lovers or forest therapy guides see technology as enemy.  I agree to some extent. If you are doing sensory awareness exercise, that demand deep concentration, you can’t be checking your cell all the time. If you do, you won’t get the desired results. With nature, it’s like the more you’ll open your senses the more you’ll get!

On the other hand, if you are just enjoining a beautiful scenery, getting fresh air or working out, it is perfectly okay to listen some inspiring music or motivating audio books. I love to listen good books while I’m walking in nature. It is my own time without kids. I get to study and at the same time inhale loads of vitamin N (nature). Some people might even like to photograph natures creations and there are even few of us nature lovers who think, that technology might be our salvation.

As you can see, forest therapy is a quite easy method, that can be adjusted for many purposes and it gives you tremendous amount of health benefits. You don’t have to travel far, spend hours of your time or identify plants or animals. Just get out and meet some nature! Next time, we will dig deeper into health benefits of nature. See you soon!

Warm and loving thoughts,

Heidi