Could Forest Bathing Make You Live Longer?

The forest isn’t the first place you think of when planning to go bathing, but its all the craze in Japan and has been since the 1980s. In Japan, its called “Shinrin-yoku” which means immersed in nature and it has become a vital healing medicine in Japan.

Many health experts have been claiming that forest bathing is the most important thing you could do for your health. According to national figures, in the UK we are a stressed-out nation, 74% of UK adults are overwhelmed by stress at some point in their lives making it one of the biggest health problems we face today.

There have been many scientific studies that demonstrate the healing effects of simply being in nature that can help us live longer and healthier lives.

So how does something so simple as a walk in the forest give you ultimate health benefits?

It’s proven to:

  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Increased ability to focus,
  • Accelerated recovery from illness
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved sleep

 

photo-1441974231531-c6227db76b6e

It seems the effect of just switching off from your everyday problems and thoughts to spend some time in nature has a positive healing effect physically and mentally.  We live in such an unnatural environment, constantly connected to our phones which distracts us from what is important in life. Just listening to the sounds of the forest is the best meditation.

I tried it this weekend and went to the forest with my dog, we just walked slowly and peacefully connecting with nature, I noticed the trees, the branches, the simple things became magical,  I felt a sense of calm which lasted for days, I am usually affected by high cortisol levels and anxiety and this all disappeared, I could think more clearly and my problems felt so insignificant, I didn’t want to come out of the forest that day.

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 12.52.18

The best methods for forest bathing.

  • Turn your phone off,  the idea is to escape such intrusions that enter your life
  • Even if you are in the company it’s better to be quiet and listen to nature not the sounds of your friends talking even if the conversation is great.
  • Don’t use this time to think about your problems which would make this a useless exercise.
  • Be mindful, take in the sounds of nature, the birds, the leaves blowing in the wind, smell the earth, feel the ground under your feet.

 

If you live near a natural park, the countryside, or a forest, make time to try forest bathing and feel the healing power of nature. The more you do it the more benefits you will feel from this free and mindful practice and you will keep wanting to go back for more. Natural healing is definitely the best medicine for me.

 

 

 

A Hormone Balancing Smoothie

Are you troubled by hormonal problems, perhaps you have an estrogen dominant condition such as fibroids or endometriosis? Hormones control nearly every aspect of how we feel and could be behind a whole range of symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, headaches, depression, and digestive issues.

My top 5 smoothie ingredients for happy hormones include fibre, healthy fats and lots of antioxidants. 

Avocado – A healthy fat which helps to reduce the absorption of estrogen so if you are estrogen dominant this would be a good option. It’s also rich in Vitamin B6 which supports healthy metabolism and nervous system. Avocado can also lower stress hormones in the body and improve serotonin levels needed for a healthy mood

Broccoli – Contains natural compounds such as glucosinolates and sulforaphane, which helps reduce the risk of estrogen-linked cancers and eliminates excess hormones from the body that can disrupt our cycle. Kale is also great for balancing your adrenal glands, which help regulate the hormones necessary for fertility, mood stability, and energy levels, it is also rich in iron and contains sulfur which detoxes the liver.

Flaxseeds – Rich in antioxidants and compounds called lignans which have been shown to help regulate estrogen levels. Chia, Pumpkin or Hemp seeds would also work well for hormone balance.  Hemp is an excellent source of protein if you are a vegetarian and supplies the body with all 3 omegas.

Blueberries or Kiwi – Too much fruit in your smoothie can cause high sugar spikes which would create an imbalance of blood sugar levels so its best to only add a small addition of fruit to your smoothie, kiwi is abundant with vitamin C and blueberries have high antioxidant activity so either a small handful of blueberries or a kiwi is enough fruit for your smoothie.

Maca –  originally from Peru this superfood enhances energy, vitality and is proven to support hormone balance and improve fertility chances, it also tastes great so is a goodie for your hormone balancing smoothie.

Mix all your chosen ingredients with your favourite plant-based milk, dairy from cows is full of hormone disruptors so avoid cows milk, I love Rude Health almond milk or coconut milk, coconut is rich in amino acids, healthy fats, minerals, and B vitamins which would be beneficial to your hormones and almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium which is vital for a healthy endocrine system.

Berry Nice Hormones Smoothie

  • 1 hand full of Blueberries
  • Half Avocado 
  • 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Maca Powder
  • 4 Broccoli Florets
  • A glass of Coconut Milk

 

fullsizeoutput_b04.jpeg

Then drink at room temperature, Ayurvedic practitioners believe that icy drinks can interfere with your digestive fire and cause dampness in the body so it’s always better for your system to drink your beverage at room temperature to avoid causing strain on your kidneys and liver.

 

 

 

Reflexology, Is It For You?

The first time I had reflexology I didn’t know what all the fuss was about, yeah it was nice. I spent an hour with some lady just stroking my feet covering them in baby oil but I did feel a bit ripped off as it wasn’t cheap.

A few years later a friend suggested I should try reflexology for my hormone imbalance as I was still suffering from endometrial polyps and ovarian cysts. I was reluctant to spend £40 on what I could essentially do myself, I did consider just buying a bottle of baby oil and massaging my feet while watching Netflix but my friend persisted.

Reflexology dates back to ancient Egypt and China. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed the zone theory in the 1930s into what is known today as modern reflexology.

According to reflexologists, pressure on the reflex points can help to balance the nervous system and stimulate the release of endorphins that help to reduce pain and stress. Just some of the conditions that respond well to reflexology are,

  1. Stress related conditions
  2. Hormone imbalances
  3. Digestive issues
  4. Insomnia
  5. Menstrual disorders
  6. Back pain
  7. Migraines

Second Time Lucky

So I booked my next reflexology treatment with a reflexologist that actually did real reflexology. It started with a warm relaxing foot bath in relaxing dried herbs such as rose and chamomile and then after patting down my feet gently with a towel the work began.

While I was waiting for a foot tickle it was actually nothing like my first experience. At times it actually felt a bit painful. I nearly decided that this obviously wasn’t going to be something I do very often as It was bordering on uncomfortable at times. But then I started to enjoy the fact that this was doing something. I lay listening to the relaxing music in a lovely treatment room with smells of burning relaxing oils and even though I was a little relieved when it ended I was fascinated by the things that the therapist picked up on.

The first things she said were that my adrenals were tender, this is the area which takes all the burden and deals with your stress hormones and too rightly I had been through a stressful time with a failed IVF treatment just a few months back. She also felt tender areas in my lower intestines, sinuses and ovaries and I have to say it was all pretty spot on.

Since then I have regular treatments and it just gets better over time. My feet don’t feel so tender and I genuinely feel like I am getting somewhere. I sleep much better and I don’t feel as overwhelmed with anxiety. I feel more balanced and after treatment, it releases some feel-good endorphins which are pretty hard to beat.

I highly recommend trying it and if your first experience wasn’t up to much try somewhere else. I recommend Alex at Moksha Therapies in Margate.