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What is eco therapy ?

It is a deep connection with the environment and the earth itself, being in nature and doing simple healing nature based activities that nurture the mind, body and spirit.

 

Eco-therapy is a method of restoring optimal health & well-being  through exposure too & experience in the natural world.  

 

Please find below the different methods and benefits of Eco therapy. 

An enjoyable and informative read awaits.....

The fresh air
“Fresh air is as good for the mind as for the body. Nature always seems to be trying to talk to us as if she had some great secret to tell. And so, she has.” 
JOHN LUBBOCK

The air indoors is 10 times more contaminated than the air outdoors at any given time, so using any opportunity to be outside is beneficial.

The benefits of fresh air go far beyond easing depression,

just a few moments of fresh air and green space can

lower stress.

With just 90 minutes a week spent in a park, the woods

or a garden your mood and state of mind will

improve hugely.

The whisper of a breeze through the trees and

observing nature can genuinely make your

problems feel smaller within the whole

context of the universe.

Plants
“ Plants are solar powered air purifiers whose filters never need replacing” KHANG KIJARRO NGUYEN

Plant therapy/ gardening has been known to be the ultimate stress reliever since the beginning of time - a sanctuary for healing body,mind and soul.

 

Monastery gardens used to be used as a place to treat melancholy.

 

Recent years has seen gardening as an effective treatment for disorders of the mind such as autism,depression,ptsd and also the body - including coordination problems and rehabilitation after surgery.

 

People who garden regularly have upto a 47% lower risk of dementia than non gardeners.

 

People experiencing depression, mood swings and bipolar disorder who spend 6 hours a week tending flowers showed large improvements within 3 months with re wiring actually occurring after the 3 months still showing continued improvements.

 

Green spaces and tending to plants provides children with opportunities for discovery, problem solving and learning, having a positive impact on their brain development.

 

Open space meadows of wild flowers sees the brain respond positively to this sight.

 

So much healing can be found in plants - food and medicine comes from plants!!

 

Get foraging - its free and so rewarding - Berries, elderberries, raspberries all carry an biochemical reward called allergic acid which creates a filter that reduces the mutagenicity of toxins entering our cells.

Embrace the weather
“A change in the weather is sufficient enough to recreate the world and ourselves” MARCEL PROUST

Our bodies respond to atmospheric pressure - we can experience different types of pain when the pressure falls - arthritis can be exacerbated - this is called meteor-sensitivity and occurs when air changes from warm and dry to cold and damp - the japanese call this tenki-tsu, weather pains!

Sunshine contains vitamin D - we need it to build healthy teeth and bones but also to.....

  •  Support the health of the immune system,brain and nervous system.

  • Regulate insulin levels.

  • Support lung function and cardiovascular health.

  • Slows the rate of cancer progression

  • Helps to abate the build up of deposits that can clog arteries.

  • Slows the effects of obesity.

  • May prevent inflammatory diseases of the liver.

  • Can facilitate healing from wounds to tuberculosis.

  • Can be part of a treatment for skin ailments including psoriosis,acne and rosacea.

  • Can aid us in sleeping

10 to 15 minutes of sunshine between 10am and 3pm 3 times a week is easily achieved to keep you healthy.

 

Ever wondered why you get the urge to spring clean in spring? It is because days are getting lighter and you are renewed with energy and vitality and this gives the feeling of wanting to get things done - embrace spring time and grasp the opportunity to get things done now!

Rain isn't just good for our veggies, crops and flowers, it's also good for the mind as well!

 

Negative ions are created through water molecules - negative ions create positive vibes - this is why taking a bath or shower or splashing our face refreshes us and reduces fatigue.

 

Stand outside in the rain - the negative ions benefit us so much - they produce biochemical reactions that raise serotonin which improves our mood and makes us more alert.

 

Studies show that negative ions can help i the treatment of ptsd,addictions and depression.

 

Negative ions also help filter out dust, easing allergies and asthma.

Smelling the rain makes us feel good.

 

Use winter to hibernate - our bodies need this time to rest and recoup, this is why we tend to sleep longer as our bodies get back into circadian rhythms- go with it!

 

Athletes find training in dry heat in the desert ups their game as exercising in heat can increase the blood plasma which leads to improved cardiovascular fitness.

 

Dry heat isn't only found in the desert but also within a sauna - regular sauna bathing is linked with reduced risk of sudden cardiac arrest, coronary heart disease and also brings other general health benefits also.

Circadian rhythm
“ it is the unqualified result of al my experience with the sick,that second only to their need of fresh air is their need of light” FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE - notes on nursing (1859)

Moonlight,sunshine and mindful sleep is so important for our bodies to restore itself.

A lack of sleep is getting 6 hours or less a night - a lack of sleep generally predicts a shorter life as pretty much every disease people in developed nations suffer from is linked to a substantial sleep deficit.

Sleep deprivation is linked to:

  • Moodiness.

  • Difficulty concentration and impaired cognitive performance.

  • Trouble remember information and problem solving.

  • Being aware of aches and pains.

  • An increase in accidents.

  • In extreme cases: disorientation, hallucinations and paranoia.

Much like cigarettes affect your health negatively so does lack of sleep and can contribute to:

  • Heart disease.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Stroke.

  • Diabetes.

  • Breast cancer.

  • Obesity.

  • Alzeimers,parkinsons and huntingtons disease.

If we are not getting enough sleep it is due to our circadian rhythms being out of sink.

 

We are creatures of rhythm and our natural sleep rhythm should be to sleep when it's dark and wake when it's light; this is when our circadian rhythms are in sync.

 

When our circadian rhythm is out of sink then it's like we have jet lag because our bodies are all out of sync.

 

In order to optimise the production of melatonin which is made whilst we are asleep we need to be awake when it slight ad asleep when it's dark.

 

Staying as close to our natural circadian rhythms as possible helps to keep our circadian rhythms balanced and this in turn help to diminish insomnia.

Things that help you sleep better:

  • Eat at regular times and not within 3 hours of sleep.

  • Get a good dose of sunlight.

  • Avoid electronics and artificial light once the sun has gone down.

The moon was once our only source of nocturnal light - and there is something to be said for going back to this way instead of surrounding ourselves with artificial light once the sun has gone down.

 

Prolactin is a hormone stimulated by darkness and is responsible for over 300 functions within the human body. Prolactin is secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates milk production and maternal feeling in women.

Shinrin yoku
“And into the forest I go to loose my mind and find my soul” JOHN MUIR

The term shinrin-yoku was coined In 1982 by Tomahide Akiyama, then secretary of Japans ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Shinrin- Yoku translates to forest bathing.

 

Forest bathing is a contemplative practice of intentionally spending time with trees and can also be experienced as a type of meditation.

 

Meditation can ease psychological problems such as anxiety,ptsd,treat addictions and also promote the

healing of many physical ailments

The act of intentional, attentive time with trees can:

  • Decreases fatigue and increases energy.

  • Has immune system boosting, antiviral and anti carcinogenic benefits.

  • Increase the ability to focus.

  • Speeds up recovery from surgery or illness.

  • Regulates the endocrine hormonal system.

  • Lowers blood glucose.

  • Enhances the ability to get a better night sleep.

  • Increases brainwave activity in young adults.

  • Positively affects elderly patients with chronic heart failure.

  • When we go for a walk in the woods we feel better because we are breathing cleaner air and this can reduce symptoms of asthma.

  • Exercising in a forest is more efficient because our bodies don't have to work as hard to take in oxygen, and also mildly cleanses our organs.

  • Trees emit vibrations which cure headaches quicker than taking an analgesic- so go and hug a tree next time you have a headache if not before!

Take a walk...
“ Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day, I walk myself into a state of wellbeing and walk away from every illness ; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it” - SOREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855)

Chairs are the new cigarettes of today - get walking, stay healthy.

We can actually develop our brains by taking regular walks.

Walking helps with the reduction of inflammation, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

Walking enhances balance, posture and joint fluidity, plus a lower incidence of vascular dementia.

Want improved digestive health and a better functioning colon? Get walking.

Outdoor exercise in nature works as a way for us to

de-stress and a balm for our minds.

Taking a walk increases our inhalations and exhalations in turn releasing endorphins that trigger a natural opioid effect making us feel more optimistic and overall more joy

Studies have shown the front region of our brain - the hypothalamus, which controls temperature, thirst and hunger as well as affecting sleep and emotions, that walking encourages this part of our brain to manufacture oxytocin - also known as the love hormone.

Walking in nature has been shown to decrease rumination.

Going for a walk in green space is crucial for good mental health.

 

Walking increases our ability to be creative.

 

Walking at night in a safe space has huge benefits, all distractions are removed and one can be more

present and mindful of where we are,

almost like a meditation.

Mud ! Glorious Mud !
“There can be no life without soil and no soil without life;they have evolved together” - CHARLES E KELLOGG (1902-1980) soil scientist

There's a reason digging in the Earth makes us feel better - microbiomes reside in certain environments, such as our gut, skin and the soil - it is the good bacteria that form part of the microbiomes that build our resistance to illness and fight bad bacteria that cause infection.

 

Get part of your daily dirt intake by eating as much fruit and veg as close to wear they've been grown as possible.

 

Earthing- walking bare foot with feet against the earth is a good way of getting your daily dirt contact.

 

Positive outcomes have been made from studies showing that by authentically connecting our bodies to the earth has benefits of reduced inflammation, enhanced immunity and healing of wounds and even the prevention of and treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

 

Altering the number of circulating white blood cells, grounding may even lessen pain.

 

Another way to up your daily dirt intake is fangotherapy - mud baths! Applying mud to the skin can relieve psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, rosacea,eczema,acne and itchy skin!

 

Mud bathing even has positive outcomes in treating neurological, osteoarthritis and even some cardiovascular disorders.

 

Using mudpacks and mineral water soaks to absorb minerals through the skin may benefit our immune system.

 

Mud from the dead sea is extremely beneficial as it contains rich organic substances such as calcium, magnesium

and potassium.

Healing through colour, patterns, scents,sound and
silence.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order” JOHN BURROUGHS 1837-1921

The eye actively seeks the colour green - green can heal us.

 

Step away from the screen and seek out green - our brains are directly affected by what we see.

 

The more the nerve cells are stimulated by motion, colour and a variety of depths of perspective, the more opiating the release of endorphins becomes.

 

Reds and oranges help us think better.

 

Blue makes us dreamier and relaxed, blue evokes a positive emotional response, related to dopamine, the feel good hormone.

 

We should make sure we are exposed to nature's full colour spectrum every day for optimum wellness.

 

Did you know that even looking at flowers has benefits - looking at roses increases a state of relaxation!

 

Show appreciation for interconnected patterns within nature - look at leaf patterns and appreciate the geometry and start to feel a sense of tranquillity and peace wash over you.

 

Looking at appealing pieces of art will lower your stress levels.

 

Smells - different shells affect our thinking - it is well known that essential oils have a positive effect on us and different scents ignite different feeling , lavender makes us feel relaxed , lemon makes us feel fresh and energetic, rose makes us feel nurtured.

 

Rose essential oil has been used to treat depression.

 

The smell of pine has an immune boosting beneficial effect.

 

Sounds can have either a positive effect or negative effect on us depending on the vibration the brain receives.

 

Sounds from nature have a relaxing effect on our minds and body.

 

Be mindful in nature , listen to the sound of the ocean, the rustle of the leaves, birdsong - see how you feel.

 

Sound has such an effect on us that we should monitor what we listen to the same way we think consciously about what we are looking at and what food we put in our bodies.

 

Silence is also important - silence can be healing - sometimes seeking out silence can be a challenge, so take it when

you can and enjoy it.

Water
“Water purifies and regenerates because it nullifies the past, and restores-even if only for a moment-the integrity of the dawn of things” MIRCEA ELIADE

Water performs most of our crucial physiological functions.

 

Water regulates our body temperature, builds cells,aids our metabolism, digests food,lubricates joints, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells and flushes out toxins.

 

The earliest life forms began in water.

 

Drink water - increasing your water consumption by 1% can lower your daily caloric intake as well as consumption of fat,sugar,salt and cholesterol.

 

Avoid water in plastic bottles.

 

Aside from staying hydrated, water is so much more to us than that - just being near a body of water has proven health benefits - reducing stress and helping us feel restored.

 

Get your feet wet! Dipping your feet in a body of water will energise you and make you feel refreshed - likewise placing your feet in a foot bath can not only ease muscles and joints but ease your mind also.

 

Soaking your feet in water for 10 minutes can increase nerve activity.

 

Try walking in water - working against the waters resistance is a great form of exercise especially for people with arthritis and limited abilities for whom swimming laps is not possible.

 

Pilgrims trek to bodies of water around the globe to heal the spirit- we can use a bath to do the same.

 

A swim in icy water is known to ease persistent pain after surgery almost as well as any analgesics or physiotherapy.

 

Cold water dipping is also great at helping to ease nerve pain.

 

Did you know a hot bath lowers blood sugar after eating? A hot bath also seems to lower chronic inflammation, the body's response to infection, wounds and diabetes.

 

Contrast bathing is a technique used when alternating hot and cold baths to reap the benefits of each.

 

Alternating hot and cold may also increase lymphatic flow and even improve the function of the immune system.

 

The sound of rushing water is said to be relaxing for some because it replicates the sound we hear when inside the womb.

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