Why You Should Hug Your Trees
Are you a tree-hugger? No? Well, maybe you should reconsider. Some recent studies make the case that it can brings health and psychological benefits.
A Walk in the Park
Canadian researcher Marc Berman, in collaboration with the University of Michigan and Stanford University, showed that 20 test subjects had significant gains in memory and attention after an hour-long stroll in a wooded park compared to a group who took a similar walk in an urban area.
In his book Blinded by Science, author Matthew Silverstone presented evidence that trees have positive effects on conditions ranging from depression to headaches. He highlights several studies that indicate children show substantial psychological and physical benefits from regular interaction with trees and plants.
An Old Remedy for New Ailments
The beneficial effects of communing with nature aren’t new information, but often get overlooked in today’s stress-filled world. Henry David Thoreau famously wrote about the salubrious effects of spending a couple of years living in the Massachusetts woods. Japanese “forest bathers” take long walks through forests to absorb the wisdom of the trees and stimulate their immune systems. Taoists see trees as absorbers of negative energy and sources of emotional and physical healing.
So what is the basis for these beliefs?
Science tells us that atoms vibrate in specific ways, and since everything is made of atoms, we’re constantly surrounded by those vibrations. Observable vibrations such as sound and light waves affect moods and behavior, but what about those we don’t notice? Trees and plants, being also made of atoms, vibrate, too. So does touching or surrounding oneself with them expose us to atomic good vibrations that have a healthful effect? Some researchers think so, and evidence is building to suggest they may be on to something.
What We Already Know
Decompressing from the stresses of life has definite health benefits. Whether it’s a long soaking in a quiet tub, chilling with a glass of wine and soothing music, meditating, or going Full-Walden like Thoreau, reducing stress relaxes the body and clears the mind. Stress hormones are linked to numerous diseases, both mental and physical, so eliminating them, even temporarily, can have lasting benefits. If trees and plants can add to that relief, so much the better. Regardless, it’s hard to deny the calming beauty of surrounding oneself with nature. So bring plants into your office and home, walk in a park instead of on busy streets, plant a garden, and hang out with a tree. And maybe give it a hug for making you feel better.
Ready to Plant a Tree?
For information about many tree species that do well in Colorado, browse our Treeology Blog. And if you need a helping hand, Donovan Arborists offers planting, pruning, and shearing services as well as a complete landscape maintenance package for property in the Denver area that includes care of trees, shrubs and turf.
We’re committed to maintaining and protecting Colorado’s natural beauty and health in accordance with the best practices of urban forestry. We use environmentally friendly practices and a holistic approach to create optimal outdoor environments for you and your plants to thrive.
We’re always happy to give free estimates to homeowners and property managers for any services needed.