BY: CAROLINE ROLF
Remember your elementary school French teacher who wore flowing skirts and ate only granola? Whenever you hear the term “tree-hugger,” you often associate the nickname with left-wing extremists or a slandered hippy practice. Contrary to our notions, hugging trees has been scientifically proven to benefit your health in several ways. In fact, simply being in the vicinity of a tree will give you a boost.
This ancient practice has been confirmed to have advantages that improve health issues ranging from concentration levels and reaction times to depression, ADHD and other forms of mental illness. The studies conducted can be found in Matthew Silverstone’s book, Blinded by Science, where his research even indicated a tree’s ability to relieve headaches.
The studies conclude that children show significant psychological and physiological health improvements when interacting with trees and nature. More specifically, the children functioned better emotionally and were more creative in the green environment. It makes sense that connecting with where we come from and stepping away from our hectic schedules can help us centre and boost our mood.
How do trees significantly improve our wellbeing?
Without a doubt, the majority of us breathe a sigh of relief when we venture out to an open green space, but Silverstone shows that this alleviation of mood is more than a theory – it’s vibration. The fact that everything around us vibrates means that different vibration frequencies affect biological behaviour. When touching a tree, its vibrational properties are different from our own and it absorbs our negative energy while we are able to take in the tree’s beneficial qualities.
By practicing tree hugging, you’ll be following a longstanding tradition that has been observed around the globe. Some forests, like Finland’s Koli National Park, has thought to be more spiritual than a church. In Japan, people practice forest bathing, where they spend extended periods of time in ancient forests to absorb wisdom and stimulate their immune system. A community in Italy, Damanhur, has a laboratory in the woods that offers a beautiful choir of singing trees. Indigenous peoples live among plants and animals, knowing which plants are safe to eat and what will cure a particular disease.
With the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, perhaps we should take a hint from the hippies. If you can’t make it to a lush forest, bring a succulent to work or plant a tree or garden outside your home. Make time to connect with nature and experience its healing powers. More attention needs to be paid to holistic practices like this one, so turn to the tree nearest you and open your arms.