Why is tree hugging good for us? Research shows the real & long-term benefits of spending time in the forest & around trees include, reduced stress, improved immunity, lower blood pressure & accelerated recovery from illness or trauma.
But is hugging trees necessary? In this post you’ll discover why tree hugging, contrary to popular belief, isn’t ‘weird’. How the energy that flows through you, flows through all beings. What happens when you hug a tree & four ways to do so along with other tree-related practices, resources & research.
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Written by The Wilder Route on 15th May 2021.
Tree Hugging Isn’t ‘Weird’
Tree hugging is good for us humans & being labelled as a ‘tree hugger’ in our opinion isn’t an insult, it shows that we are in touch with the natural world.
At the start of this year, I (Kelly) pledged to embrace my inner weirdo & generally just get a lot weirder. I’m happy to report, it’s going well so far. We live in a society where the few try to fit us into boxes, attempt to divide us & preach to us how important saving the planet is whilst continuing to profit from the exploitation of our natural resources & us humans.
Needless to say, it is screwed up!
More & more people are coming back to nature because innately we know how much we need it & that is because we are quite literally part of it, yes we are nature & nature is us.
“To forget how to dig the earth & to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”– Mahatma Gandhi
Everything Is Energy
When we start to understand that everything is energy, we gain a better understanding of our place in the world.
You are a living energy field. Your body is composed of energy-producing particles, each of which is in constant motion. So, like everything & everyone else in the universe, you are vibrating & creating energy.Source Healthline
Quite literally this means that the energy that flows through us, flows through all living things including all plants & trees. So, there you have it when you hug a tree you connect to it through its energetic vibration. The same vibration that runs through you.
The Practice Of Shinrin Yoku (森林浴) ‘Forest Bathing’
Shinrin Yoku translated is ‘forest bath’ – it is the act of bathing ourselves in nature for therapeutic benefits. Forest Bathing is a Japanese practice that began in the 1980s & is now used throughout the world.
The Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing, is good for both physical & mental wellbeing. It is proven to reduce stress hormone production, improve feelings of happiness & free up creativity, as well as lower heart rate & blood pressure, boost the immune system & accelerate recovery from illness.Source – Forest Holidays
The Hidden Life Of Trees
In his fantastic book, The Hidden Life Of Trees Forester & Author Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. Covering what trees feel & how they communicate, one book review claims that after reading it ‘a walk in the forest will never be the same’ & we have to say, having read it, we agree.
Forests are complex networks that we are only just beginning to understand. Whilst it’s good to feel the benefits of practices such as Tree Hugging & Forest Bathing, it’s also super important to understand the magic that these beautiful beings behold.
Our friend Kristin, recently posted a tree series on her Instagram account covering everything from their root system to the part they play in our communities. One of her 5 posts in the series is just below (be sure to go check out her Insta feed for them all).
What Happens When You Hug A Tree?
When you hug a tree you release a hormone called oxytocin – known as the hormone of love, trust, & all the warm & fuzzy feels.
Think about what it feels like to hug another person… it’s wonderful isn’t it?! & whilst we are not suggesting that you replace human hugs with tree hugs, what we are saying is, trees are living beings too & therefore, hugs with them are also wonderful.
Did you know that we have our very own organic clothing range called Nature Threads, for which we plant a tree for every item purchased? Check out the nature-inspired designs in our store.
Iceland Encouraging Tree Hugs
The island nation of Iceland is on to something when it comes to tree hugging, with the stress of the pandemic in mind the Icelandic Forest Service has been working to clear roads & paths for people to hug trees…how awesome is that?!
We think the park rangers working on this deserve a serious amount of kudos, not only for giving people a way to get an instant boost of serotonin & dopamine but for protecting the Hallormsstaður Forest, which having been protected since 1905 is home to over 85 species of trees.
Hallormsstaður State Forest, covering an area of 740 hectares, is one of the largest forests in Iceland.
Up For A Bit Of Tree Hugging?
If you already hug trees then hopefully this post will have given you by now a little more insight into the benefits of doing so. If you have never hugged a tree, we hope that you are up for doing so.. it’s an amazing way to connect with the natural world & get back to the roots that a lot of us humans seem to have forgotten.
Four Ways To Hug A Tree
To finish up we’ve listed below four ways to embrace your inner tree hugger, because, like it or not, we all have one!
The Cheek To Trunk Hug
Cheek to trunk involves getting up real close & pressing your cheek against the trunk of the tree. This is especially good for larger trees whose trunk may be too big for you to wrap your arms around.
The Full Face Tree Hug
An even more up close & personal approach, pressing your whole face against the trunk of a tree you may even be able to feel the majestic being breathe.
The Lean On Me Tree Hug
For the more shy folk among us, just sitting under a tree with your back pressed up close against it can result in an awesome energetic exchange.
The Group Tree Hug
Share the love & joy by hugging trees with others, it’s a great thing to do whilst out on a walk with family &/or friends.
Ciao for now & happy tree-hugging,
Kelly & Adam x
P.S. Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you might also like Healing with Water – What, Why & How To
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