• Dewy grass

Dew walking

A forest bathing and hydrotherapy mash-up

Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

Green and blue spaces are rarely separate in nature. Forests can be found alongside streams and rivers and lakes. Even if we can’t see the water, it is there — as dew on the leaves in the morning, running in underground trickles to feed the roots of the trees, nourishing the tree trunks and helping to move nutrients between the trees, and feeding the trees on the mountainsides with glacial spring water. At this time of year, most of that water is present as snow and ice.

Just as forests and trees need water to survive, so do we. The earth’s surface is around 70 percent water; our bodies are around 60 percent. Trees, too, have almost as much liquid inside them as we do.

Doctors and medicine people around the world have traditionally understood this integral connection between health and water. Dew walking is a hydrotherapy technique that fits perfectly into a forest bathing practice to connect you to the earth, the trees, and the water all around.

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By |January 28th, 2019|Hydrotherapy, Nature & Culture|0 Comments
  • woman stands atop log lying on the ravine floor while two children straddle the same log further down the bank of the ravine

Forest bathing for the whole family

Like sitting around the dinner table, forest bathing together as a family or with community creates stronger bonds and amplifies the health benefits of getting outside. You feel more connected to nature, but also to each other. […]

By |January 28th, 2019|Nature & Culture|0 Comments
  • Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

Bring in the light – conifers and winter solstice

Happy winter solstice! Today is officially the shortest day of the year. At least it feels that way. Up until tonight, the darkness has seeped into our days like ink bleeding on paper. Tonight marks the transition where we begin to move back into the light once again. As of tomorrow, the days will get […]

By |December 21st, 2018|In My Garden, Kids, Nature & Culture|0 Comments
  • Photo by Deglee Degi on Unsplash

Forest bathing 101

Imagine a therapy that is completely free, readily available, and virtually without side effects that can radically transform your health. It’s called “nature exposure,” or forest bathing. And it's easy as 1-2-3-4-5.
By |December 8th, 2018|Nature & Culture|1 Comment

Get outside: fall/winter edition

It’s official – fall is here and winter is coming.  It’s rainy and grey outside today in Toronto and I just want to stay inside, wrap myself in layers of wool, and cozy up on the couch, preferably near a fireplace.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what this naturopathic doctors orders, but every day, I’m still pushing myself to gear up and get outside. […]

By |November 14th, 2018|Mental Wellness, Nature & Culture|0 Comments
  • breakdancer jumping in the air

Move to meditate

I’ve never been good at mindful meditation.  You know, the kind where you focus on your breath and develop awareness of your personal news ticker.  The kind where you notice and name that voice inside your head that reviews your day, questions your every action, worries about everything, and can be your worst critic.  And then you focus again on your breath.

You’d think I’d be a pro.  My mother was a yoga teacher in the 70s.  She taught me breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation and visualization in my tweens.  She introduced me to mindfulness and meditation and mindful meditation with the hopes that it would help lift me out of my depression.  It didn’t.  […]

5-4-3-2-1 Countdown to Calm

I love simple ways that help calm anxiety and bring your attention to the present moment. Stop feelings of panic in their tracks with this exercise that makes use of your 5 senses to focus on the here and now.
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By |November 19th, 2017|Home Treatments, Mental Wellness|1 Comment

Trauma, a tech analogy

It’s hard to describe what happens when panic sets in. People who don’t experience chronic acute anxiety episodes or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or dissociation often struggle to understand. As I woke the other day with a feeling of great distress, I found a new, truly geeky analogy to explain both the sensations and the management. […]

By |November 12th, 2017|Home Treatments, Mental Wellness|0 Comments
  • Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash
  • Photo by neil godding on Unsplash

Hearing voices

The idea of hearing voices is one of the most vilified aspects of mental illness.  Hearing voices is frequently attributed to those living with schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder, but is much more common, and complex, than its portrayal on TV or in media.  Although auditory hallucinations can pose significant problems in some cases, voice-hearing can be positive and even, non-clinical. […]

By |November 7th, 2017|Health Research, Mental Wellness, Philosophy|0 Comments
  • By Nathan Keirn from Kadena-Cho, Japan (NAK_2421.jpg; to the Commons uploaded by odder) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

4 herbs to help you resist

It’s been a rough year so far for everyone, including those of us who work from a trauma-informed and anti-oppressive model in healthcare (and anyone with even an ounce of humanity).  I’ve added a new diagnosis to my medical charts – sociopolitical mixed anxiety-depressive disorder – to acknowledge the heightened fear, anger, and sadness that many people are now experiencing, especially so for those who are BIPOC or LGBTQ.

So what to do in your day to day?  How do you find the strength and vitality to fight back against environmental destruction, racism, misogyny, and transphobia?  How do you stand up, stand in solidarity, and stay standing without falling down?  How do you go on, when you are afraid of the future, or too angry or sad to get out of bed?

Here are my top four herbs to support you through the next 2-4 years, even if you are currently lying in the fetal position under multiple layers of blankets (I know I’m not the only one): […]

By |January 31st, 2017|Herbal Medicine, Nature & Culture|1 Comment