Do you have a favorite tree? A favorite memory of playing in trees, romping in the nearby woods, catching frogs or playing hide and seek? What tree plays a role in those memories?
My native elders felt trees had traits, some like humans. For example, maples are considered social, living nearby homes. The white pine often referred to as the Tree of Peace, held a position of respect and figures in stories of salvation from our own human follies. Seek peace not war becomes the white pine’s message, symbol.
Tree hugging is not uncommon. Many of us who enjoy the outdoors might take a moment or two, savor the forest’s smells and silence while hugging a tree.
Gardening, walking in the forest seems to calm us, eases our breath from everyday concerns. Do we need scientific studies to prove this? I don’t think so. We seem to thrive in some ways when we venture into nature.
In Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv, laments that our children are removed from nature, by at least two generations.
“The young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience.” He further explains: ” at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical and spiritual health directly to our association with nature – in positive ways.”
A paradox for our day and age. We stay inside with our gizmos, lead busy lives. Complementary and alternative medicine, CAM, seeks to explore and encourage simple practices that enhance well being including “getting out in nature.”
The world of alternative medicine is often confused with complementary medicine. Yet in some ways, they complement each other. How? Many of us, when faced with a serious illness, seek some other way to cope with this illness, a disease. We get on the medical program advised for us but want something more; we want to add something to hopefully speed up our recovery if possible. We may choose modalities such as massage, maybe investigate nutrition and make dietary changes. We may add aromatherapy and meditation to our routines. In this sense, we are adding modalities to complement our medical program.
In other instances, folks choose other modalities first. They put aside medical protocols and delve into alternative practices that could make a difference. They put body and soul into a program that hopefully brings changes.
My podcast guest this week, Lynne Hartwell, Alternative Medicine Practitioner, stressed simple ways to bring in balance on a body, mind, soul level. Focus on breathing. Exercise. Lynne recommends “getting out in nature” too. Remember childhood wonder and the ability to be completely in the moment playing in the woods? How we couldn’t wait to get outside? There was no time.
Lynne and other alternative and complementary practitioners often recommend “getting out in nature”. Reconnect. Feel the breeze. Smell the woods. Relax and breathe.
“Connect with nature.” I couldn’t agree more.
Summer gardening chores are in full swing. We have rain barrels around our garden. While that helps us harvest rain water, it does mean a bit more work watering. Weeding puts us on our knees or bending our backs. Produce is producing strong right now and that means gathering and putting them “up”. Whether canning or freezing, garden chores are in the intense mode during this part of summer.
Got a few aches? Maybe a sore muscle or two? Here’s a great muscle rub recipe that uses quality essential oils.
Recipe: Essential oil: Soothing Muscle Rub
In aromatherapy, pine is used in saunas, steam baths and massage blends for sore muscles. The natural evergreen aroma of pine essential oil is a sweet alternative to harshly medicinal pharmaceutical preparations. Here’s a recipe that combines the oils of several plants used to add, therapeutic fragrance to steams and saunas or to apply to sore muscles at the end of a gardening day.
30 drops pine essential oil
30 drops juniper berry essential oil
30 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
To make a penetrating massage oil for overworked muscles, dilute 12 drops of this concentrated blend in 3 ounces of vegetable oil, such as sweet almond. This fragrant muscle rub is especially nice after a strenuous workout when muscles may be tight and sore.
Never apply concentrated essential oil blends directly to skin without diluting them first as irritation may develop.
When I discuss the metaphor of what is outside us is in us with my students I often point to the local stream in town or at least make reference to it. I then ask them would you drink that water? Garbage clutters the river sides and it is polluted. Usually I hear ughs and loud choruses of, “of course not!”
So many of our waterways are polluted. When I drive by the countryside here I see garbage everywhere which includes the small streams nearby. Why? Why are we so disrespectful to this land or at the very least so unmindful of our actions? The waterways of the earth are like the veins and waterways of our body. We continually pollute ourselves with fake foods which we know creates an acid environment and biologically an acid environment can open the door to disease. We throw our factory waste and our package waste with little thought to the consequences for ourselves and our future .
Water is one of the four key elements every ancient culture respected. As we pollute and expand without consideration for the elements of this place we call home we diminish an incredibly valuable resource. Without water we can perish in as short as three to four days.
Did you know women can heal the water? I am sending you an article ( Women Walk to Heal the River.pdf) today on Ojibwe women who started a water walk to bring healing to the rivers in the center of our country. Historically, at least in the Native American culture, many support the notion that women take care of the water. Folks can join them along the way too.
We can make a difference one step at a time. This story is so inspirational and relevant to the power we carry as an individual and when we join together.
Dear Readers, I hope you will give thanks today for our water.
In gratitude, Judith
Vitamin D research is hot! Every health news magazine reports on the important role this vitamin plays whether in bone formation, immune support and cancer. Known as the “sunshine” vitamin as the sun activates a form of vitamin D under our skin when exposed that sets up a biochemical cascade and has many healthful benefits.
However I am meeting people who have not had their D levels checked and for those that have their levels are quite low.
If you have the beginning stage of breast, prostate cancer or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for example, I would highly recommend you get your levels tested.
However, I encourage everyone to have their Vitamin D levels tested and if needed to use quality supplementation especially through the winter months. Besides getting outside and exercising whether walking, skiing, hiking where possible, being outside helps through the change of season. Too much can be harmful so please start the new year right: know your Vit D level.
According to Dr. Mercola the best blood test to check your Vitamin D levels is: “25(OH)D is the better marker of overall D status. It is this marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.
Click on Dr. Mercola above to get the full article.
Wishing all of you a terrific 2012. Start the year off right and know your vitamin d level.