Back to Nature

After yet more back-breaking work my attractively designed raised vegetable beds are now in place. I’m looking forward to reaping the benefits – not only harvesting and eating my crops, but also the whole experience of sowing, tending and being close to nature in my small garden from where I can enjoy apples ripening, dappled sunlight through silver birch leaves and a laburnum dripping with bright yellow flowers.

 

Being in an environment of trees and plants can be physically and emotionally beneficial. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as ten people inhale in a year and certain trees produce beneficial essential oils such as Tea Tree and Pine, or form the base for certain medicines such as aspirin and quinine.

 

The Tree Council[1] organised a ‘Walk in the Woods’ month in May to attract people who rarely, if ever, visit woods, possibly motivated by research[2] in Japan which showed that ‘forest bathing’ or ‘shinrinyoku’ measurably reduces stress levels, improves the immune system and regulates pulse and blood pressure. Being surrounded by the sights, sounds, smells and textures of a forest can also help to clear the mind. ‘Green Gyms’ [3],run by BTCV, is an initiative to improve well-being through involvement in practical conservation activities – some GP’s are advocating this project to patients suffering with mild depression.

 

Office workers have reported that they felt healthier and had fewer sniffles and sore throats when they have plants in their office. As well as boosting oxygen levels, plants are purifying and help clean pollutants from the atmosphere ‘tainted’ by photocopiers and computers. Apparently, Sansevieria (Mother-in-law’s tongue) is particularly suitable for busy people because it is indestructible and needs little watering! Furthermore, like Aloe Vera, the sap of the ehrenbergii species has healing qualities.

 

I’m thinking of offering, weather permitting, a brief, pre-treatment stroll in my garden to enhance the benefits of a massage!


[1] http://www.treecouncil.org.uk/?q=walkinthewoods

[2] http://www.japanfs.org/en/pages/025839.html

[3] http://www2.btcv.org.uk/display/greengym

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