How can spending time in nature on a regular basis help your health? And how does our obsession with technoloy affect our health and wellbeing? Our addiction to screens is an increasing fact of life. In fact, even just today I was reading that successful tech venture capitalist and former Google and Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee thinks in the future there will be such a thing as Virtual Reality Anonymous, just like Alcoholics Anonymous. For all the positive aspects of technology, there is also a dark side to it.The amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen without a balance of other elements in our life is becoming a new health epidemic that is on the rise. Regardless of all our technological change, the nature health connection will not change. We need to be in touch with nature in order to fully thrive.
How to stay in touch with nature in a modern world.
Studies have found one thing our body thrives on is a flow of electrons from the earth into our bodies. The earth has an electromagentic field just as our body does, and an interraction between these two electromagetic fields has been proven to have benefits such as improved sleep, reduced inflammation and pain, stress reduction and improved immune responses. We can absorb these electrons by walking bare foot on the earth in an area that is away from the city where there is less likely to be underground pollution. If you live in the suburbs, your back yard or a local park is likely to be enough to spend 30-40 mins walking barefoot on the ground to experience these benefits.
What about bad weather?
If you live in a part of the world where being outside barefoot at certain times of the year is not feasible such as in the depths of winter, believe it or not, there are technological solutions which also have scientific backing such as grounding mats. This study states that when you can’t get outside “….the use of conductive systems while sleeping, working, or relaxing indoors offer a more convenient and routine-friendly approach.” You simply place parts or all of your body on these gounding mats for a certain period of time each day to absorb the electrons and balance your own electrical system. You can check out a range of grounding mats here.
Enhance your connection with nature through the elements.
The ancient Chinese knew a thing or two when it comes to connecting with nature through exercise. In fact, the entire Traditional Chinese Medicine system is built around natures elements such as earth, air, fire and water, and they also have a 5th element known as ‘metal’. This is know as ‘Five Element Theory’, and is related to how our bodies are made up of everything that nature is made up of. The way you can connect with the elements other than just being outside for a period of time is to do an ancient practice known as Qigong.
One of the branches of Chinese medicine is an exercise component known as Qigong (pronounced ‘chee gong’). Qigong dates before Tai Chi and has some similarities to Tai Chi, however Qigong relates more to nature where is Tai Chi relates more to martial arts. However, both practices are very beneficial to health and wellbeing. The advantage of Qigong is it is much easier to practice and to learn than Tai Chi. It is made up of series of flowing movements which are like a moving meditation. As you move through each aspect of the practice, you connect inwardly with the Five Elements through the process of visualisation and breath. It has such a wide range of benefits that even the mainstream medical community has a vast range of studies that support the physical and emotional benefits of Qigong. You can check these out here. But in a nutshell, Qigong has been proven to:
- reduce blood pressure
- reduce stress
- enhance you energy
- enhance you mood and wellbeing
- improve your immunse system
- helps to ground yourself so you can focus on tasks more easily
- improve your flexibility
- Improves your sleep, and a range of other benefits!