Why your brain needs a Garden

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“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” – Mirabel Osler

Gardening awakens a primal urge that many of us have to connect with the earth. By putting your hands in the soil, you are able to physically unite with nature on an elemental level.
At the same time, gardening gets you outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, helping your body produce much-needed vitamin D. It gets you moving, providing important exercise, and allows you to connect socially with others.
When you garden, you’re adding beauty to the landscape and habitat for birds, bees, frogs, worms, and so much more. Depending on what you garden, you can reap a harvest of fruits and vegetables to feed your family. You can also indirectly feed your brain for better mood and emotional health, and to satisfy your curiosity for knowledge.
In fact, learning is the fourth top reason why people say they garden — after to grow safe, healthy food, get exercise, and add beauty to their yard. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that people garden, in part, to stimulate their brains, as gardening has been shown to impact brain health considerably.

Spending time in a garden may help calm dementia patients
A new systematic review examined the impact of gardens and outdoor spaces on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. The research suggested that garden use, whether it be watering plants, walking through a garden or sitting in one, led to decreased levels of agitation or anxiety among the patients.
As for why the garden may help induce calm, Dr. Mark Stecker, chairman of neurosciences at Winthrop-University Hospital, who was not involved with the study, said:
“When your brain is impaired, you go back to your basic instincts. Many people have always enjoyed the outdoors. They may not have an explicit memory of that, but it’s an implicit memory. And they find it comforting to be outside.”
Interestingly, while spending time in a garden may help relieve some dementia symptoms, it may also help to reduce your risk of developing dementia in the first place. As reported by CNN:
“Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36 percent and 47 percent lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account.
These findings are hardly definitive, but they suggest that the combination of physical and mental activity involved in gardening may have a positive influence on the mind.”

Gardening may make you happy via antidepressant microbes in the soil
According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80 percent of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that gardeners are happier.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a type of bacteria commonly found in soil, which people may ingest or inhale when they garden. Remarkably, this microbe has been found to “mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.” It helps to stimulate serotonin production, helping to make you feel happier and more relaxed. No wonder so many people describe their garden as their “happy place.”
In one animal study, mice that ingested Mycobacterium vaccae had a demonstrated reduction in anxiety and improved learning. The researchers noted that natural exposure to microbes may be important for emotional health and behavior:
“Recent studies show that contact with tolerogenic microbes is important for the proper functioning of immunoregulatory circuits affecting behavior, emotionality and health […]
Collectively, our results suggest a beneficial effect of naturally delivered, live M. vaccae on anxiety-related behaviors… supporting a positive role for ambient microbes in the immunomodulation of animal behavior.”

Gardening helps you get grounded
There’s another way that gardening may help your mood and brain health, and that is grounding. The surface of the earth holds subtle health-boosting energy, and all you have to do to harness it is touch it. Walking barefoot on the earth transfers free electrons from the earth’s surface into your body that then spread throughout your tissues.
Grounding has been shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and enhance your well-being.
Aside from increasing your sense of well-being and calm, keeping a garden can also improve your health by providing you with fresher, uncontaminated food; nutrient-dense food that is simply unavailable in your grocery store. It will also help you reduce your grocery bill. You don’t need vast amounts of space either.
Even apartment dwellers can create a well-stocked edible garden. You can use virtually every square foot of your space to grow food, including your lateral space. Hanging baskets are ideal for a wide variety of crops, such as strawberries, leafy greens, runner beans, pea shoots, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs. You can also grow sprouts like sunflower seeds and reap a harvest in 7-10 days.
And instead of flowers, window boxes can hold herbs, greens, radishes, scallions, bush beans, strawberries, chard, and chilies, for example. Just start small, and as you get the hang of it, add another container of something else. Before you know it, large portions of your meals could come straight from your own edible garden.

author: Dr. Mercola
Full article at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/21/gardening-impacts-brain-health.aspx

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Bioenergetic Landscapes: How the energy of plants can improve our health

The idea that plants and in particular trees are beneficial to men is today broadly shared. Over the last decades, university institutes and research centres all over the world have addressed this issue, carrying out experimental studies on the influence of green areas at psychological, sensory and emotional level, above all in medical facilities, study rooms and workplaces. Results are often astonishing.

Research activities carried out by the University of Texas demonstrated that patients hospitalised in facilities provided with gardens have shorter hospitalisations and are more satisfied, as is the staff: ultimately lower costs and higher comfort (R.S. Ulrich et al., 1984-1999-2002; Cooper-Marcus and Barnes, 1995; Whitehouse et al., 2001). Also at workplaces, the presence of plants can increase the yield by up to 12% and reduce stress and sick leaves (V.I. Lohr et al;, Washington State University, 1996; T. Fjeld, 1998). Studies have also proved that just watching natural landscapes and plants is enough to improve blood circulation in a few minutes, reducing stress (R.S. Ulrich et al., 1991-1999; Hartig, 1991; Nakamura and Fujii, 1992; Heerwagen, 1990) and activating a therapeutic effect based on emotional suggestion, which could be therefore defined a “placebo” effect. Hence it is confirmed that the “healing tree” is an archetype of ancient origin that is still today deeply rooted in our psyche. Over the last twenty years these results have encouraged many designers to create “Healing Gardens”, which are gardens thought above all for the weakest and most disadvantaged people, with the purpose of producing wellbeing feelings through the therapeutic effect of the landscape, which is mainly linked to emotional, psychological and sensory stimulations. For a few years, new studies have been investigating the reasons of the beneficial influence that plants and above all trees can exert on human beings, analysing this interaction in terms of “energy”.
Ancient cultures used to teach practices and rituals that included the physical contact with trees, as they thought they had a therapeutic power based on the exchange of vital energy.

We are linked to the plant world through a biological affinity, which seems to have been confirmed by scientific research, as it has highlighted the existence of great similarities between some aspects of the animal and plant physiology. For example, recent discoveries by LINV (International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology) of Florence have proved that the plant root system has a great similarity with the animal brain and that plants have sophisticated skills enabling them to react to external stimuli and to choose the most suitable answer to the environment and the human beings they come in contact with.
Moreover numerous studies have proved that all physical forms (humans, animals, plants and minerals) are held together and controlled by electromagnetic energy fields (electrodynamic theory by H.S. Burr, Yale university, 1940; H. Frolich, 1988, F.A. Popp, 1989), spurring further research to deepen the knowledge on the relation existing in this field between human beings and the environment. Hence it is no surprise that in terms of energy men, animals and plants depend on the environment even though at the same time they emit biological energy fields, in form of weak, but specific electromagnetic fields.
In the 60s the Belgian researcher, Dott. Walter Kunnen (1921-2011) started to investigate the electromagnetic influences of biosphere on life and health of human beings, stating that we are not really aware that the only difference
between a corpse (animal or plant) and a living body is neither of physical, nor of anatomic nature, but it is only an energy matter. His unconventional studies highlighted the existence of subtle electromagnetic fields emitted by men and of those existing in nature, which are able to influence health. Thanks to the evolution and the use he has developed of the most advanced tool of biophysical measurement, the “Lecher antenna”, he was able to measure the biological quality of natural and artificial electromagnetism with a precision that still today is impossible for electronic equipment.

As a consequence, new studies have been recently carried out in the plant field to deepen the knowledge on the energetic relation between men, trees and biosphere, which lead to the idea of “Bioenergetic Landscapes”. It is an innovative technique, which, through specific measurements, recognizes that plants and in particular trees are able to influence men and their vital functions from an energetic point of view and which is used to create therapeutic “bioenergetic gardens”. All this is possible because plants emit electromagnetic frequencies, which are identical to those produced by human organs, the intensity and quality of which vary according to the plant genus and species. These frequencies interact with our organism by resonance, the same principle applied for the functioning of radio, and according to their characteristics they can provide energy to the different human organs, sometimes producing also great benefits. Electromagnetic properties of each species can be precisely measured and used for therapeutic purposes in the creation of green spaces and areas where is beneficial to have a relaxing and regenerating stop.

Actually the intensity of electromagnetic fields emitted by trees is very low (like the one of bio-energetic fields produced by man, which are currently studied in many universities all over the world); yet it has an extremely high biological affinity. It usually does not have any influence on the organism if the distance from the tree is more than few tens of centimetres.
Yet the study carried out has enabled the discovery of natural electromagnetic vectors, called “generator fields”, able to transmit the energy properties of trees, which can be defined their “biological information”, up to a some meters of distance.
Thanks to accurate measurements, plants are located with high precision and in compliance with specific procedures along the path followed by these
vectors, which collect the bio-electromagnetic information of the plant. This allows to create bio-energetic areas rather large. These can stretch up to 20-30 metres from the plants, roughly of the same width.
To better illustrate the phenomenon, it could be useful a simile. Imagine the natural electromagnetic field as a pure and clear mountain stream; then we immerse in the middle of it a glass filled with ink of a certain color, that in our case is the tree with its particular energy: until the ink will come out from the glass, the water will flow downstream coloring itself for some distance, until returning transparent. Much like this happens in electromagnetic reality studied by the Bio-energetic Landscapes, with the only difference that the tree never wears out.
Bioenergetic areas are particularly suitable for a rest and they have different levels of beneficial electromagnetic qualities to our organism according to the plant used and its specific properties of biological influence. Staying a few minutes in these spaces facilitates and nourish the most vital functions and well-being of our organs (immune system, circulatory, liver, thyroid, adrenal gland, etc ) and involves a more intense and effective recovery from stress as evidenced by the measurements performed with diagnostic tools as GDV Bioelectrography (Gas Discharge Visualization) by prof. K. Korotkov – University of St. Petersburg – (Russia) and with various vibration devices of electromagnetic and TRV infrasound and ultraviolet analysis.
Using this technique, it is possible to plan and then create bioenergetic parks and gardens,the therapeutic function of which is truly based on the beneficial properties of selected plants, achieving levels of qualification for the environmental electromagnetism that no other system can provide. To obtain this result, the choice of plants is fundamental. Most of the common mediterranean and continental species exert a positive influence on the different organs, and only few of them have negative effects, such as the Walnut (genus Juglans) or Cypress.

Interestingly over time men have used their experience and sensitivity to recognize the positive influence of many tree species, which have then become symbols of vitality and objects of worship. In ancient times, they represented the powers and the qualities of the deity, who was associated to them and who sometimes chose the tree as dwelling. For example, Oak (Quercus robur) is a tree with an excellent resistance and particularly beneficial for the cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems, as well as for the reproductive organs.
In antiquity, in the whole Mediterranean basin and up to northern Europe, it was considered an oracular tree, a sacred tree, which was placed at the centre of the Celtic Nemeton or of the Roman Locus as object of worship evoking the power of Zeus or northern deities. It is not excluded that the thaumaturgic power attributed to some sacred trees could stem from a particular position that enjoyed the best conditions of the local biosphere, thus enabling them to enhance and spread around their great beneficial force.
The link between tree and symbolic and divine meaning is clear also in other plants belonging to the European sacred tradition, like the Olive, the Ash and the Birch. These trees have a positive effect for the organism, they help the heart and the immune system, and hence they are precious for our health. As far as the Ash is concerned, for example, we know that in the Greek mythology it was sacred to Poseidon, the god of the sea, the springs and the waterways. The bio-energetic analysis of this tree highlights an excellent therapeutic influence also as regards kidneys, bladder, lymphatic system, all organs concerning indeed liquid flows of the body.

The ancient gesture of hugging a tree achieves a higher meaning, as it brings us in contact with the real energy emissions able to activate wellbeing mechanisms, as well as walking in a wood enables us to move and rest within an environment that is deeply influenced by the bio-electromagnetic proprieties of trees, thus transforming our trips into moments.

author: Marco Nieri
article source: http://fountaininternationalmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Fountain-International-Magazine-October-20141.pdf

The Healing Power of Nature

In today’s fast-paced world, almost everything we ingest is artificial, processed and synthetic, be it food or medication. Even when it comes to exercising, many of us choose to walk on the treadmill, or take a dip in the public pool, instead of heading towards the park or the ocean. Smoking and drinking have probably becomes the most common ways to reduce stress and anxiety, especially with working individuals. Needless to say, the air we breathe in is far from pure, at least in urban areas! And when it comes to curing any ailment, even something as mild as a common cold, many of us waste no time in popping a pill. But did you know that many of your health problems can be treated without a trip to the doctor or the pharmacy?Fortunately, many people are now realizing the healing powers that nature can have on their bodies. After accepting homeopathy and herbal therapy, for treating several different types of ailments, many individuals are now exploring the benefits of Eco-therapy.
In simple terms, Eco-therapy can be described as a form of natural treatment, which encourages people to build mutually-beneficial relationships with nature. Those who have been undergoing this therapy make an attempt to use their mind, heart & senses to interact with the world. While many people practice Eco-therapy in different ways, this treatment requires you to:

  • Head off to the woods or a garden
  • Sit beside some flowing water
  • Watch the scenery when you are traveling by car or train
  • Interact with domestic animals like cats, dogs and horses
  • Embrace activities like gardening as well as tending plants and watching them

Basically, you need to get involved with different types of living species other than your own.
Intuitively, many of us have been aware of the healing power of nature for a very long time and recent research proves that we have been right all along.

Nature can have a positive impact on your body in numerous ways

Medical Benefits: Just looking at nature can help your body heal faster. Research has shown that patients in hospitals experience less pain and recover faster, if they have access to the views and sounds of nature. Even looking at murals of natural scenery and listening to recorded sounds of nature can have a similar effect on your recovery process.

Emotional Benefits: Continuous focus on everyday tasks, at work and home can drain you, causing you to feel irritable, fatigued and stressed. Nature can increase your sense of overall well being with its restorative effect. Adults and teens claim to feel more relaxed after spending time outdoors. Taking part in a variety of activities like jogging in the park, camping in the woods or swimming in the river, can help you feel more self-confident and patient.

Therapeutic Benefits: Interacting with nature for just a few hours each day can help you combat some serious health issues, like depression and anxiety. A recent study conducted in England showed that people experienced a reduction in depression when they walked outside, but experienced little improvement or even worsening of their symptoms when they went walking in a shopping mall for the same amount of time. In certain schools, teachers are encouraged to take hyperactive students outside for a brief walk, so that they can concentrate on classroom activities for the rest of the day.
No one can really explain how or why nature has such a deep impact on our bodies and yet, its therapeutic power cannot be ignored. The best way to test the effectiveness of Eco-therapy is by spending time in the outdoors and interacting with other living beings.

source: http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/benefits-of-natural-healing-power-slideshow.html

Healing Garden. Il Giardino che Cura

Garden
Healing Garden. Il Giardino che Cura
Author: Cristina Pandolfo
Publisher: Brigantia Publisher
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Gardens are the realm of serenity and contemplation, compared to paradise as utopian place where sensibility and knowledge coexist in a perfect harmonious synthesis. The ability of the nature to cure the diseases of the soul, through our sensory perceptions, generates a positive action that has an effect on the physical body improving the whole quality of our life. Healing Gardens belong to the holistic therapies based on an integration between material and spiritual world. Inside us there isn’t a division between mind and body and a garden, preparing minds to beauty, peace and quietness is able to instill a well-being feeling that leads a general improvement of our health.

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[momentarily only in Italian language]