GREEN THERAPY Blog

The power of healing and nature

COMBING HEALING AND NATURE

We are turning more and more to nature to help us get through the difficult times we face on a global scale. Who doesn’t love connecting with nature on some level? We all know nature is good for us, yet we are sadly losing the skills and natural means to do this based on how we live our lives and don’t always approach nature with nature’s best interests at heart. We are missing out on the simple things that can restore our balance.There is a wealth of evidence to support that nature connection is good for our physical, emotional, and mental health:

  • Studies have shown that just a glimpse of the outdoors can boost overall mood, mental health, and life satisfaction
  • Research suggests that people who have access to nature are more likely to demonstrate environmentally friendly behaviours, people not exposed to green spaces are less likely to adopt environmentally friendly approach  
  • Plants and access to green spaces, even via a window or a picture, are more likely to have increased productivity and a greater sense of well-being
  • A ‘forest’ atmosphere lowers stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline levels. It increases cognitive function, mental health and strengthens the immune system. Whilst on the contrary, urban experiences raise blood pressure and stress levels
  • Nature connection can combat loneliness and brings communities together 
  • ‘20 minutes in nature lowers stress hormones and improves immune functioning’ *

As humans we have an innate love of nature and the natural world around us, this is called biophilia. Our biophilic connection blends the personal, social, and ecological spheres of our natural self. Connecting with nature on a deeper scale leads to a positive and flourishing relationship with our ecological self. This in turn helps us move on an individual level from ego-centric to eco-centric and hopefully on a local, national, and global scale.  

Our interconnectedness and interdependency with nature has been forgotten in many parts of modern culture.  The modern world has dominated nature for the purpose of human benefit. This has led to the ecological destruction that we are faced with right now. With this brings a human crisis of well-being and health.

If we can restore our love of nature, increased awareness, and connection to the natural world not only can we help protect our world and mother nature, but we will find our own path to wellness, healing, and a deeper purpose. 

Working with people in nature helps them to explore their personal healing and development journey and how they can find the resources to be more fulfilled, cultivate wholeness and harmony for self-healing.

Here are some accessible ways you can connect with nature:

  • Your garden is the perfect healing place, using all your senses, pay attention to the colours of different plants, they are not all the same green. What shape are they and what do they feel like? Focus on the smell of each plant, which scent resonates within you? Listen to the sounds in your garden, separate them out and investigate how the sounds make you feel
  • Cherish and nurture your plants, build a new relationship with them, talk to them, listen to them
  • Plant a new plant that has healing properties that you can utilise in your home, such as herbs or something colourful to optimise happiness – pink, orange, yellow or red are perfect colours or perhaps easy to grow and edible flowers such as nasturtiums
  • Feel grounded and connected and find a safe spot to walk barefoot on the grass
  • Whilst walking in the woods find a safe spot to stop and use all your senses to feel a connection with all aspects of the natural environment

Wild & Green facilitates your healing journey by integrating nature practises with nature connection to awaken the senses, restore balance and healing in a variety of styles on a one to one or group basis, these include: 

  • Grounding and nature-based mindfulness and outdoor meditation
  • Forest and mindfulness walks where you immerse your senses in the forest, taking a slow walk through the forest, focussing, and tuning in to your senses in the multitude of ways the forest surrounds you 
  • Sensory green therapy and creative consciousness sessions exploring nature through all of our senses, delving into colour therapy in the plant and flower world to facilitate healing and balance
  • Creative sessions using seasonal, local, and holistic herbs, plants and flowers to support creativity and well-being making seasonal wreaths and floral arrangements etc. Linking the lost meanings of plants and flowers and their traditional and folklore roots. All materials are eco-friendly with a zero-waste philosophy      
  • Subtle energy healing (and distance healing), energy and chakra balancing with a connection to plants, flowers and colour
  • Discovering and sourcing healing and holistic plants for your home or workspace

For more ideas and inspiration please contact wildgreentherapy@gmail.com

*Mary Carol. R Hunter, Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress… Frontiers in Psychology, 2019

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HOW NATURE CAN ROCK YOUR INTERIOR WORLD

We all know nature rocks. We have been embracing mother nature’s gifts during lockdown and how this has brought us calm, tranquillity and hope during such a turbulent time. 

House plants have been the stars of the interior world for the cool kids for many years, alongside the well coined phrase of ‘bringing the outside in’, but do you really know what nature can do for you in your home and workplace?

Biophilia is a key word right now in the plant world, it sums up our love and need for nature – it explains our innate and genetically determined affinity with the natural world.

The philosophy of biophilia is connected to nature therapy or green therapy, which is based on the belief that we are all connected to and impacted by our natural environment. Green therapy allows us to discover or re-discover our relationship with nature.

Research has highlighted the positive effects of building a relationship with nature. Studies show that just a glimpse of the outdoors from a window or even a photograph can boost your overall mood, mental health, physical health, and life satisfaction. Office workers who can view nature from a window had a higher job satisfaction compared to those without this view (Rachel Kaplan).  Adding flowers and plants to a workplace can be beneficial for a worker’s creativity, productivity and flexible problem solving.

Plants heal us on so many levels, there is no denying that house plants make us happier and healthier. They can purify the air, replenish oxygen, introduce a change in atmosphere, lift our mood and reduce stress levels. The act of caring for a plant is reflected in our own self-care and can bring a routine to daily life. 

From an interior’s perspective plants in a created space can soothe harsh lines, blur boundaries, soften sound, and soften man made elements.  Styling and designing with plants can be a rewarding experience and gives you options to play with shape, colour, texture and containers.  

Plants do so much for us, what can we do for them? Help your plants to be happy and they will reward you no end. When choosing a plant for your home or workspace you should consider light, humidity, space and how much care you can give each plant in terms of watering, pruning, repotting and feeding. Think about keeping it green from an environmental perspective too, in terms of pots and plastic packaging. Consider your confidence levels, if plants are a new thing, start with something small that needs very little care and work your way up as your confidence grows.    

So, what’s not to love? Bring some green therapy into your life and let it rock your world!

For more information on green therapy, choosing or styling plants for your home and workspace, please contact wildgreentherapy@gmail.com or head to wildandgreentherapy.com 

HERBS: CONNECTING FOOD AND HEALING

We all use herbs for cooking and enjoy them in the food we eat, but did you know the plants that you probably have in your kitchen or garden can be used for so much more than cooking. All plants influence our mood and well-being and herbs provide a natural, holistic approach to enhance well-being.

What is a herb?

A herb is any plant that is used in medicine, the flowers, bark, stem seeds and root can be utilised. The use of plants for healing is one of the oldest of medicinal therapies.  Herbs stimulate the body’s natural powers of healing by re balancing and cleansing. They restore health without unwanted side effects or damaging balance. They also have the benefit of being accessible and inexpensive. Herbalism is the most common way of utilising herbs in this way, but this can seem a little scary and inaccessible. There are so many easy and quick ways that you can introduce herbs into your life for well-being.

Your herbs:

You can grow your own, pick wild (always be responsible, ask permission and have knowledge of what you are picking) or buy from a shop.

Try growing your own from seed. They are a joy to watch grow from seed, tending and caring for the seedlings and then the plant, is connecting with nature and proven to be positive for well-being. You can also harvest them and dry them, so you have pleasure from the herbs for many months. To grow your own, any sunny space will do, a small windowsill is all you need. They are easy to grow and cultivate, herbs appeal to all our senses and provide us with a grounding and nurturing activity. Favourites to grow are mint, basil, thyme, sage, camomile, garlic, lavender, parsley and coriander.  

Tips on harvesting:

To gather the leaves, do this on a dry day (if grown outside), best picked in spring or late summer and pick before plants come into flower. If harvesting for aroma, such as rosemary and sage, the leaves are best gathered at midday when the oil content is highest. To dry herbs, tie in loose bundles and leave to dry in a warm dry place. Flowers are best picked in the morning and seeds in late afternoon or evening.

Here are a few easy ways of using herbs for well-being and healing:

Garlic used in cooking is great for circulation. Garlic infused oils with cider vinegar makes a salad dressing for weak digestion. Garlic and honey are both antiseptic and combined are good for colds, infections, and allergies.

Aloe vera is a great plant to have on your kitchen windowsill. It has healing properties, is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antifungal. It can be used for mild burns and insect bites, just cut the end off a leaf and use directly. The end of the leaf will seal over and if you store the leaf somewhere cool it will last a few months. You can also cut the leaf into smaller pieces and store in the freezer.

Peppermint is fantastic for indigestion and sickness and promotes digestion after a meal. Pick a few leaves and infuse with boiling water for a fresh mint tea.

Rosemary is great for greasy hair, add rosemary to cider vinegar for a natural and cheap hair rinse. Rosemary is also well known to aid strengthening the memory, burn some rosemary essential oil in a burner to benefit. 

Thyme is good for sore throats as it has general anaesthetic properties use fresh leaves in an infusion with honey and lemon. Thyme can be used as a household cleaner mixed with cider vinegar.

Sage smudge sticks are used for cleansing and clearing your space of negativity and air purification, simply pick a few stems bind with 100% cotton string and leave to dry, when dried that can be burned.

Mixed herbs make great incense, use rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, oregano can be used, collect a stem of each, bind with 100% cotton string and leave to dry, when dried that can be burned for a heady and woody scent.

Mixed herbs can be used as a steam inhalant – pour boiling water over fresh herbs such as sage, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

Infused oils for cooking – add fresh herbs to olive oil and leave to infuse (keep out of the sun as it will make the oil rancid). 

Room sprays – 1 cup of cooled camomile tea, 3 drops eucalyptus oil and 3 drops of lavender oil.    

If you have any questions on what herbs to buy, where to buy, where to plant, when to plant or more information on recipes and uses please contact wildgreentherapy@gmail.com or visit wildandgreentherapy.com

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