Nature, a Component of Human Heath and Happiness
We all know what nature means to us. It is birds, bees and trees. But did you know that nature
itself, is part of the immune system of the planet and is responsible for improving your own
immune system. So it’s not only beautiful, it is life and health giving.
The Japanese practice of ‘Forest Bathing” is scientifically proven to improve your health. Forest
bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health
program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and
promoted topiary as therapy. Not only does forest air feel invigorating and refreshing, it actually
improves immune systems.
Another old practice that has come to light recently is ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’. It is walking
barefoot on the earth as well as allowing the earth to touch our skin. The advent of concrete
streets, parking lots and roads, as well as shoes has covered up the Earth the healing that she
provides. That is a story for another time.
The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, may protect against a host of diseases, including
osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. What’s more,
sunlight has other hidden benefits—like protecting against depression, insomnia, and an
overactive immune system. Unfortunately, we have been scared into believing that the sun is
dangerous to us. The human condition tends to be all or nothing.
I will not go into the chemistry of how that all works but we do know that Mother Earth is perfect
and has her own immune system. We are all connected to that. The earth has a covering
around her that takes care of her and spreads to where it is needed. It is our duty to take care of
her so that she can take care of us.
Children particularly benefit from nature. Apart from sitting quietly and staring at the leaves and
clouds, a kind of serenity surrounds them and a feeling of connection becomes present. I
believe that the age of technology has circumvented the tradition of children playing outside. I
also believe that the culture of fear has prevented parents from allowing their children to go
There are many reasons why we, as parents need to take the time and effort to allow
our children to be outside. Here are just 8 of the reasons to get our kids outdoors.
- Exercise is an important factor in our lives. We all know that we have become more
sedentary and it has impacted our health greatly.
- Children need to play together to learn how to communicate and to deal with conflict and
solve their own problems.
- Their is so much knowledge in nature. Learning about the world and it’s amazing ability to
look after itself is an important part of growing up. It teaches children respect for the planet
and all living things.
- There are various essential oils, called phytoncide found in wood, plants and some fruit and
vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Inhaling
phytoncide seems to actually improve immune systems.
- Using nature has been a technique used for thousands of years to calm ourselves and
realize inner values and touch the part of ourselves that is our connection to our Creator.
- As mentioned before, Vitamin D from the sun is vital to our health.
- We must not allow technology to take away human interaction and engagement. It is a tool,
not a lifestyle.
- Children develop their cognitive abilities by playing outside. They develop their physical
abilities as well as learn how to move throughout nature and observe the many plants,
animals and insects.
Don’t be afraid to put a warm coat and hat on and feel the breeze. It changes everything
By Janet Robinson