Go Hug a Tree

Prague Castle Royal Gardens black walnut tree

Trees around the US are abundant, and we love them! We love them for their beauty, their shade, and their ability hold that wooden swing with the long rope handles that we adore in the summer. Trees are necessary for life, and not just ours. Animals rely on trees for food, shelter from predators, and as a jungle gym; the soil depends on them to reduce erosion, hold it in place and to pass nutrients; plants use trees as a food source, shade from the sun, protection from the wind, and a trellis to climb upon. And this is just to name a few benefits.

Besides aesthetic advantages and tangible needs, did you know that just being around trees, breathing the air directly under a tree, and touching a tree provides psychological benefits?  Think about when you are out in your yard or garden, in one of the parks or gardens throughout the area, or hiking down any of the green, lush trails we have around. How do you feel?

Trees in my Wisconsin backyard just turning in the fall

It could be the fact that you are out in nature and breathing fresh air in the sunlight – but trees play a big role in how your mind slows, your blood pressure lowers, and your body relaxes.

Not only are trees great for creating an oasis for you, your backyard, all the critters and birds in your backyard, but they are busy emitting pinosylvin, a toxic phenol substance for fungi and insects, but healthy for you. It is shown to stimulate respiration and act as a mild sedative, relaxing us. You don’t necessarily have to “smell” a leaf, just walking under trees offer these benefits. “Smelling spring” is really smelling tree aerosols.

Spring blossoms in my Wisconsin backyard

Japan has shinrin yoku, or “forest bathing”, and in South Korea, there are “healing forests”. These practices are something you can do at home – by planting trees! Create your own “healing forest” and sit with your favorite book in a park, stroll through your favorite forest, or meditate in your backyard around trees. World-wide studies have shown benefits of touching a tree with its vibrational patterns that affect different biological behaviors within your body, also.

The various trees we have in our area provide so much for our environment, for our flora and fauna, for the beauty of our backyards, and for our health and well-being. So, go plant a tree – and then give it a big hug!

My grandma and mom chillin’ under a tree in rural Wisconsin

Sources: Williams, Florence. The Nature Fix. New York: W.W. Norton &
Company, 2017. Print
“Tree Hugging Now Scientifically Validated.” The Mind
Unleashed
, The Mind Unleashed, 6
July 2013, themindunleashed.com/2013/07/tree-hugging-now-
scientifically.html.

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