Many years ago, I was going on a hike that one of my dearest friends could not join. When I talked to her the day before, she casually said “hug a tree for me” and as silly as it sounds to some, that was a request I intended to honor. I did… and I was hooked. Every time I go into the woods now, I hug at least one tree. I’ve even shimmied up real close and hugged a tree on a ski slope. Wearing long sticks on your feet makes that a little more effort, but worth it.
“…separation from nature is not only responsible for many physical diseases of our time, but also for the prevalence of mental illness”Clemens Arvay, The Healing Code of Nature
Now I feel very justified. In reading The Healing Code of Nature by Clemens G. Arvay the connection between humans and trees is a must for a healthful life. Time and time again in the book, he reminds us that we weren’t built for asphalt and concrete. Nature is our natural habitat. He says “…separation from nature is not only responsible for many physical diseases of our time, but also for the prevalence of mental illness”.
The research being done on the healing properties of trees is fascinating. More accurately, the research is on the terpenes that trees emit. All plants contain some level or strain of terpenes, but trees have been studied most (well, possibly second to cannabis). Their effect on healing has been dramatic. Even just being able to view a tree has shown to speed recovery in hospitals over patients who have views of man-made things.
In one theory, he notes that even in winter trees emit terpenes. The bark is the part of the tree that emits the most. So, go on…hug that tree. It’s not the most cuddly thing to hug, but somehow it just feels innately good. Better news is that it could be boosting your natural killer cells.