Nature is and always has been the greatest physician. Whether aware of it or not, it is in fact our connection with nature that constantly catalyzes the mechanisms we need to heal. As I sit in my backyard in the waning of day and write this post, I am amazed at the amount of activity all around me. We don’t always pay attention to nature and yet it never stops. At this moment in the relaxation phase of this summer evening, I hear Chickadees chirping in the background and tapping their beaks into the lattice in search of their next meal, hummingbirds fluttering on and between the pods of nectar. The Crows are cawing, dogs barking, neighbours winding down in their yards and chatting away, our boys jumping around and laughing in the house as they resist their slumber routine. I can feel their vibration as they bounce around and that of the cars as they drive by the neighbourhood streets blocks away. There’s a rustle of bushes as the racoons patrol the lots, the buzzing of fly’s hovering and the whispers of gnats in their zig-zaggy dance seemingly lost on a destination to nowhere. What a treat to observe the fascinating world around us and yet the moments are lost until we choose to reconnect. In this observation, there are some sounds and sensations that grab a hold of more of our attention almost to the complete silence of everything else. It’s incredible how narrow and precise our focus can become when we pay attention. I’m amazed at how quickly we search for the recognition of patterns to constantly orient ourselves to this time and space.
When we think of the challenges that we move through in life, it is clear that we are very sophisticated and well-practiced in the art of narrowing our focus. We become near obsessive with the to do lists, the challenge of chronic pain, the ever-present chronic fatigue, the rollercoaster of emotions and the reminders of another sleepless night. When the symptoms subside for a moment, a few hours or even a day; we watch ever diligently for when they are to return instead of widening the focus to the other wonders surrounding us. We are really good at paying attention to and lingering in what isn’t instead of wondering what could be.
One of the beautiful things about being in nature is that we don’t have to be a seasoned meditator to observe the subtleties of life in all waking moments, though wouldn’t it be nice. We don’t have to know how to connect to nature, it just happens when we put ourselves there. We don’t have to think of growing when we are kids it just happens as a result of human-being, nor do plants have to know what to do with the droplets of rain, they just do. There is beauty in trusting that this human vehicle just knows how to receive, respond and renew.
There are numerous studies showing the promotion of immune function through our attunement to nature. There are measurable drops to the common pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers in the blood) such as TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-1beta.
The nature-health link: filling in the details. This Figure summarizes the state of the scientific literature on nature and health, listing (1) the “active ingredients” in nature that have been identified as having impacts on health or health antecedents; (2) physiological/psychological states, behaviours, and conditions tied to both nature and health; and (3) specific health outcomes that have been tied to nature (controlling for socioeconomic variables). Note that physical activity (in brackets) is only sometimes tied to nature; and that allergies, asthma, and eczema are sometimes positively and sometimes negatively tied to nature. DHEA: didehydroepiandrosterone; acute UTI: acute urinary tract infection; ADHD: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; IDIC: infectious disease of the intestinal canal; MUPS: medically unexplained physical symptoms; URTI: upper respiratory tract infection.
A Mechanism that we know well in the Longevity Lab is that of Magnetic therapy and the similar effect of Grounding in nature. In making this electrical connection, there is a phenomenal amount of activity going on in the body’s physiology. Most notably the neurovascular system. This electrical entrainment that happens has been shown in studies to improve immune function, wound healing, autoimmune and overall inflammatory mechanisms. At the blood level, there is a profound increase in microcirculation which basically means you’ve opened the highways of the blood stream to deliver more nutrients at a faster speed. You’ve also stimulated the appropriate cytokine response team to focus onrepair and rebuilding. This amplification lasts hours to days after the experience and like many things on the path of recovering one’s self. It is not just the things that we do once and awhile that matter, it really comes down to putting ourselves into these environments consistently.
In short, all we need to do is plug back in!
Find out more about Bemer therapy and the other tools available at the newly upgraded Divine Elements Facility-The Longevity Lab.
Bringing the healing power of nature into the neighbourhood streets of Kitsilano.