Posts in nature caure
You Start Dying Slowly
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Bear with me, this is a message of hope.

Birthdays roll around once a year.  How do you feel on your birthday?  This poem, by Pablo Neruda is close to the thoughts I have.

You start dying slowly...

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

 

You start dying slowly...

When you kill your self-esteem;

When you do not let others help you.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking everyday on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,

If you do not wear different colors

Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heart beat fast.

 

You start dying slowly...

If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,

If you do not go after a dream,

If you do not allow yourself,

At least once in your lifetime,

To run away from sensible advice…

 

~~ BY: Pablo Neruda, Spanish poet who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971

Endure
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I have been reading the book "Endure" by Alex Hutchinson over the past few weeks, and today was the day I put into practice what I learned.  I challenged myself to hike Dog Mountain before work today, and I knew it would be tight.  I'd have to keep moving up the 3000ft elevation gain over 3.8 miles up the side of that mountain. One of the big take home lessons that I gained was "actual" vs "perceived" exertion.  This chart really stuck with me.  The decision to stop. The decision. To stop.  So all morning I practiced deciding to continue and push myself.  It felt kind of magical.  There were moments of "what the heck?", but there were more moments of, "Look at me go!"  I must've asked myself about 50 times if I was actually needing to slow down or if I was deciding to slow down.  

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One of the final, glorious pushes to the top!

Just a little touch.....

Hi my people!  I'm just back from New Zealand and have been bathed in a sea of green plants and an ocean of blue waters.  So lovely.  I read a TON about the effects of nature on our human bodies while I was there, and I wanted to leave a sweet little study here for you to read.  Tell me you're not going to go get a houseplant after that (at minimum) or at least make a pledge to get yourself in nature once a week (twice? three times?).  

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Green space exercise

There are a growing number of articles that show a clear connection between increased mental wellbeing, stress relief and even immune system activation. when exercise is conducted in forested green spaces. In the UK and Japan, they study this phenomenon extensively, citing active components that are directly responsible for all these positive effects.  That fresh pine smell, for example, is actually alpha and beta pinene.  These naturally occurring volatile aromas increase Natural Killer cells, which help us battle things like viruses and tumor cells.

You don't have to smell the woods, to get the benefit though.  In the UK, researchers found that just looking at peaceful, natural scenery while exercise increased several health parameters.

So, exercise in nature if you can, but also consider switching from zoning out with a TV show on the treadmill to treating yourself to some seriously beautiful views instead.

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Li Q1Kobayashi MWakayama YInagaki HKatsumata MHirata YHirata KShimizu TKawada TPark BJOhira TKagawa TMiyazaki Y. Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct-Dec;22(4):951-9.

Li Q1, Kobayashi MInagaki HHirata YLi YJHirata KShimizu TSuzuki HKatsumata MWakayama YKawada TOhira TMatsui NKagawa T. A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2010 Apr-Jun;24(2):157-65.

Humpel N., Owen N., Iverson D., Leslie E., Bauman A. Perceived environment attributes, residential location and walking for particular purposes. Am. J. Prev. Med. 2004;26:119–125. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2003.10.005. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

De Vries S., Verheij R.A., Groenewegen P.P., Spreeuwenberg P. Natural environments—Healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health. Environ. Plan A. 2003;35:1717–1731.

Allergies

Allergy season is back in the Pacific NW after a long, cold, wet, windy winter.  Beyond Claritin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, the best way to combat the itching, sneezing, runny nose days and nights is to abide by the LAWS of Allergy Hygiene.  Decrease your exposure, decrease your symptoms!

Allergy hygiene:

  • Keep your windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen, especially when the local pollen count is high. Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle, to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • The pollen counts are the highest between 5am and 10am, so limiting your outside exposure during those times can be extremely helpful for diminishing your allergies.
  • Limit exposure on mornings that are especially warm and dry; these will usually be the high pollen count days. Days that are dry and windy also have high pollen counts. The best time for outdoor activities is immediately following a heavy rainfall.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.  Use an indoor rack instead.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen. Also, change and wash clothes if they’ve been exposed to pollen.
  • Bathe and shampoo hair daily before going to bed to remove pollen from hair and skin in order to keep it off your bedding. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Minimize contact with items that have come in contact with pollen, such as pets and people that have spent a large amount of time outdoors.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, and in severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.

If you are in the Portland area and think you may have allergies, you can get allergy testing with one of the following clinics:

http://www.aadapc.com/

http://bakeraad.com/

http://www.allergyclinic.net/barzin-khalili-md

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature

My buddy, Kurt Beil, wrote a really interesting article last summer that I don't think I have shared here on my blog.  Kurt is an ND/Acupuncturist who studied Environmental Public Health as well.  His focus is on how Nature heals us.  I think we all know that getting out into the fresh air and sunshine (when it does shine here in Portland) makes us feel better at a core level.  Kurt's research proves it. I know that when I was in medical school, stressing out over some exam or research paper could easily be remedied by lacing up my running shoes and heading for one of the many green spaces and hiking trails.  They're calling it "Vitamin G", G for green!  It's just so TRUE.  So after you finish reading this article, get outside and bask in nature.  It's for your own good.  :)

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature.

New Zealand Natural Medicine: Honey is where it's at.

My family and I have just returned from a sunny summer trip to New Zealand to visit our relatives.  It was so fun for me to check out the local plants and herbs growing there.  Much of New Zealand is lush, green, and bursting with plant life, many of which I had not seen before.  Some plants were relatives of the medicinal plants we have here in the Pacific NW. One plant I did not get a good photo of was the Manuka bush.  Honey made from the bees that frequent these bushes can have extremely high antibacterial qualities.  You can actually find some here in the states.  There is a rating system which uses UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) as a strength indicator, so you know what you're looking for:

The UMF Ratings (measure of antibacterial strength):

  • 0-4: Not detectable
  • 5-9: Maintenance levels only (similar to table honey and not recommended for special therapeutic use)
  • 10-15: Useful levels endorsed by the Honey Research Unit at The University of Waikato
  • 16 and over: Superior levels with very high activity.

It's mostly useful for external wounds---to help with the healing process.  If you've ever used hydrogen peroxide to clean a cut or scrape, Manuka honey will do just as well (without the free radical damage done by peroxide).  In fact, Manuka honey does use some peroxide activity to kill bacteria, a very small amount mixed in with  other anti-microbials.  So yay for honey!

I'll leave you with some of my own photos taken of the other plants I liked!  Enjoy a little slideshow and a slice of NZ scenery.

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A handmade healing salve!

Today, I'm working in my kitchen, whipping up a treat for the folks who come to the Green Sprouts Festival this weekend.  I've been infusing fresh organic calendula flowers in olive oil for 2 weeks, and today I'm turning that oil into a salve. salve 1 |sav; säv| noun an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.

The first 75 visitors to our booth this year will get a free sample of the Family Tree Medicine Calendula Salve!  We use calendula salve for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other types of boo-boos.

You can also enter your name to win a brand new Moby Wrap.  Dr. Maurer and I both used this wrap for our little ones when they were babies. So, if you or someone you know is having a baby soon, stop on by, say hi, and try your luck at winning.

We look forward to seeing you there, rain or shine!