Mother Earth’s Medicine Cabinet: Healing In The Great Outdoors

There is just something about the great outdoors that makes us feel alive. The fresh air, flowing water, and life everywhere.

There is so much more to Mother Earth’s medicine than just the plants provided. If I were a doctor I would fill out prescriptions for camping trips and outdoor events. Two of the most important things doctors will tell you is to get a lot of fresh air and to drink plenty of water, but that’s simply the beginning of it. The healing goes as deep as a tree’s roots travel and flows much like a steady river.

Often, people send patients in the hospital flowers and live plants. I used to think it was just a simple act of kindness to show that you care. When I was a little girl I was in the hospital visiting a family member and I noticed all of the flowers around the room. I also noticed that all of the flowers were highly fragrant and smelled lovely. I walked around smelling all of them and noticed that it made me feel nice inside, and it was then that I figured out it had more to do with the effect the flowers had on the patient than the act of kindness itself.

In 2011 CNN posted an article titled “Why Gardening is Good For Your Health.” This article discusses a few of the ways playing in the dirt and being outdoors is good for you. There have been studies in Norway and The Netherlands and the results show that gardening has a positive effect on depression and provides stress relief. Stress is the leading cause of cancer and many other illnesses. There are also different “good bacterias” found in the soil that help to strengthen out immune system. The New England Journal of Medicine shared studies conducted within an Amish community to find out how it is the Amish do not get as sick as we do. They also tested the difference in the Amish community and allergies. Once again it turns out that the Amish children are often outdoors, as well as in the fields exposed to  dust from crops, which is actually building up their immunity to asthma and allergies.

So, it appears as if closing ourselves in behind closed doors is actually more of a risk to ourselves than enduring the elements and the possible germs that may be lurking in the wind. Sensory stimulation is very important to our overall well-being. Being outdoors simultaneously stimulates all of our senses and there is research being done on sensory stimulation to help people dealing with Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease; they say it’s best to use things that are familiar to the individual and the outside world is something familiar to almost everybody.

Mother Nature brings about a calmness that allows our bodies to heal from the inside out. Sometimes what leads to our sickness is the everyday stress we deal with. I’m not saying the next time you catch a cold to go running around out in the cold,  but what I am saying is that going outdoors more often lessens the possibility of you getting sick in the first place. Next time your little ones want to go out and play in the dirt, encourage them because in the long run it can help in a really big way. Take time to get back to Mother Nature – she knows what’s good for you. It’s possible to heal before the hurt… take more walks, open the windows, and if you have to stay indoors, bring the outdoors to you however you can. If you know someone who is down in the dumps get them outside with you, take them to the flowing water or a park full of flowers and wildlife.  Nine times out of ten by the time you get back they will feel a little more refreshed and clear-minded.

You don’t even have to be athletic to enjoy the great outdoors – in fact, just wandering in the woods has shown to relieve many ailments quite effectively.

Go outside and play in the dirt with your kids -- it’s worth it!