Mother nature is the mirror of our inner nature.
In that way each of us are our own best doctors.”
Not only did I feel at home in the forest, I felt protected there. I learned a lot about nature and animals and myself. Once I cut my hand and was bleeding. I didn’t want to cut short my wanderings by returning home for a band aid. I turned instead to what I could find. There was a plant with long narrow leaves. I broke off one wrapped it around my hand like a bandage and continued exploring. The bleeding stopped in a short while and after a few hours I looked at my hand. Not only had my bleeding stopped, the cut had started to scab. As young as I was, I knew then that the forest held many remedies. No one told me and I would have to find them for myself.
At age 67 my blood pressure is normal and besides an occasional Claritin, I feel pretty healthy. My doctor says I look great on paper. Though I am plagued by several back and hip issues that incapacitate me at times, I am trying now to apply natural healing techniques to those also. There are herbs that are anti-inflammatory and relieve pain.
During a shamanic journey to the Upper World to find out how I could lessen my pain, I found my Teacher and asked for pain relief. She led me to a garden. I knew I was shown that pain relief was contained in that garden. I searched for flower essences that would help me. It turns out that essence of the flower “impatiens” was used in the 1930’s in the place of morphine. I use it myself. Turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
I am weaning myself off my regular meds as we speak after receiving 2 shots in my spine. I am involved in physical therapy and discovered the pain I thought required a joint replacement can be ameliorated with stretching and exercise. Over the long range, I hope to regain most of the mobility I have lost. I am on the way there.
I recommend attending a class. He has started a trend here called “forest bathing”. Known as Shinrin-yoku, it was recognized in Japan in 1982 as a way to counter stress and fight degenerative illnesses such as heart disease. It’s like sunbathing. All you need to do is find a forest or a park with some trees and wander around enjoying “sensory experiences”. Views of a stream, the sounds of birds, the changing smells, textures and tastes all comprise the experience. Two-hour sessions are suggested.
Concrete benefits of forest bathing are still being researched, but a study by Japan's Nippon Medical School and Chiba University explains that trees emit organic compounds called phytoncides, which may have a profound impact on your immune system markers long after a forest bathing session. More positive effects could include lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels. When I practiced law, I looked forward to my weekend trail rides in the Ramapo Mountains on my black horse. I detoxed during those rides in the mountains and returned to work ready for another grueling work week. I knew those all day trail rides on my horse, did both my body and mind good.
My monthly drum circles around an open bonfire are also great for relaxation. We meditate make a lot of noise, chant and sing. Good company and the natural surroundings make it an inexpensive foray into Forest Bathing. The list of dates can be found on my website: