How Holistic is Being Among Trees
I started writing this post in response to some holistic therapists questioning me, and even challenging me, about the holistic value of being present in the woods and forests.

Their references were a kind of catalogue of discomforts possible from being in a forest compared to being in their own clinic, relaxation room, sanctuary and cell.

It seems they regard their controlled comforts such as temperature, fragrances and sound as being a better therapy than being within the uncertainties of the woodland. Sometimes they made hygiene comparisons too.

I have been told about the purity of  prepared essential oils, herbal preparations, treated water, pot pouris, and fragrances. These measured aids are also compared to the unexpected that may be sensed in a forest.

Some have told me about how they have fine tuned their spaces with soundscapes of voices, harps, crystal bowls, singing bowls, bells, gongs and silence. Then they compare this to the random and unexpected noises and sounds within the forest that may be disturbing rather than healing.

All of this has guided me to question "what is really holistic"?
1000s of people serve remarkable service to others with skills and work they describe as holistic. Natural alternative, therapy, counselling, coaching, healing, consulting, consoling and soul friending, is all work done with love, passion, pride and conviction.

They speak of their work being natural, in harmony with nature, and often non intrusive and sustainable.

A lot of thought and passion is expressed through the spaces they create.
Tools of their service are created with sustainable materials. Medications and remedies used are grown and prepared with outstanding care and love.

I question "what is really holistic" because
all of these spaces, tools, materials and remedies
all utilize human creation in human controlled ways.

How can being among trees be Holistic?

Most forests in Ireland today are not totally natural.
They were not founded by the seeding and pollinating by birds, animals, wind rain and sun.

Most forests, about 90%, in Ireland were were planned and planted by humans, though natural intrusion also brought in extra trees such as birch, rowan, hawthorn, blackthorn, willow, alder, and elder.

There are very, very few remains of forests here that date back to beyond when humans were first here.

Most of the Public Access forests are less than 300 years old.
Many less than 40 years old.

The ebb and flow of nature guarantees we cannot forever tidy and manicure our forests like we can do with our clinics, meditation rooms, sanctuaries, and retreats.

In the forests we cannot control the heat, cool, humidity, light and fragrances.  

Forests and woodlands, no mater how old they are, adopt the cyclic ebbs and flows of nature very quickly and reject our linear approaches to order, control and tidiness very quickly too.

I believe in the ebbs and flows and spiraling cycles of nature

I believe these nature patterns are the most healing medicine and nutrition we have.
It is all green prescription that I believe is far capable than any medicine we may try to create in either spiritual, herbal or pharma conditions.

My own discovery.

When I had a severe stroke about 3 years ago, I was obviously kept and monitored in a controlled healing environment, in a hospital that worked well and saved my life, I would think.

Since leaving that hospital I have discovered that times in the woods and forests have been much more healing than what I engaged in during my pre-stroke years.

For 50 years I had been passionate about searching for and visiting ancient sites. This often involve climbs to magnificent viewpoints
that truly capture the Irish and UK countrysides.

I now firmly believe forests have also saved my life and enriched my life.

As I have already written and posted several articles on forest bathing so I will not enter into much of that here. The overall lesson I have discovered is that within the forests all of our senses are activated, and this is what medicine needs to do ...  if it is to be genuinely holistic.

Sometimes its not comfortable in a forest when a cold rain shower or icy wind blasts, or in humid weather an insect or two may bite, or a thorn sticks into a finger and stays there throbbing while a bramble scratches and grazes our leg.

Medicine does not need to taste good or feel good but do good.

No matter what ebbs and flows embrace us during our session in a forest, the result is a total glow that can last us for a week.

To me, being among trees is the most holistic experience possible.

Oh, and did I mention about the picnic.
Never go to the woods without a snack to share,
or something to put on the picnic table :-)

Woodlands vs Holistic Therapies?

Indeed, no, I am not challenging the experience of being in woodlands is an alternative to remedies, alternative therapies, counselling, and coaching.

I am encouraging time in the forests as an extension to these, to extend practices into being much more "holistic", much more "back to nature",

and much more
"green prescription".

If you serve holistic healing and coaching services how about extending what you do into the woodlands and forests?

If you are being served healing and coaching services, how about choosing for yourself to do more in the woodlands and forests for yourself?

Woodlands are also great places for sharing just about all things performed in buildings such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, chanting, dancing, debating, creative writing and performing, I could keep this list going on and on.

Why not try time in your local woods and forest and discover how this can make what you do, what you serve, the journey you take ... more holistic.

What we offer in the forest has no fee

Financial investment is on your transport to get to the forest and your modest but useful contribution to the picnic table.

click here to read more about 
the calming and healing of the forests

click here for our listing of events coming up

click here to message me about sharing your local woodlands with others

I look forward to maybe meeting you and sharing with you in the forests.


Popular posts from this blog

Adventure in the ancient St. John's Wood

Old Head - Where Forest Meets Sea

Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing, in Ireland.