• 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.

[…]

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.  […]

  • 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

In praise of weeds

No, I’m not talking about marijuana or the TV show it was named after. The weeds I feel deserve accolades are the plants growing in the cracks in the sidewalk – the most forgotten or despised or ignored of all the plants.

Some people spend lots of time and energy spraying weeds with chemicals or yanking them out […]

Let’s talk about sex

Many of us may think we talk openly about sex but far too often I have patients who come to see me for sexual health concerns they have never discussed with other healthcare providers. I am glad that my patients feel comfortable asking me about a wide variety of issues related to sex practices: how to avoid giving and getting sexually transmitted infections, how to get or not get pregnant, and how to improve sexual function. Dissatisfaction with one’s sex life, sometimes called sexual dysfunction, is a rather common concern.
  • forest bathing

The Healing Power of Nature

A couple of weeks ago, I presented at the Ontario Forestry Association’s Annual Conference. This year’s theme was “Prescription for Nature: Healthy Forests for Healthy People”. It was an inspiring conference, with great speakers from the Back to Nature Network, Tree Canada, and the Kinark Outdoor Centre amongst others. I was asked to speak from a clinical perspective about the relationship between forests and human health, a topic I am very passionate about, as it speaks to the vis medicatrix naturae, or the healing power of nature. It was also a pleasure to present to a different audience than the usual naturopathic students I lecture to on a weekly basis. […]

By |February 23rd, 2012|Health Research, Kids, Nature & Culture|1 Comment