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C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 29 SAV V Y SELF-CARE in peace is surely able to influence the environment of our internal landscape. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how good it feels to spend time in nature. You are probably already looking forward to the next hike you will take on your favorite trail or planning your last camping trip of the season. Hopefully, this article will reinforce the importance of nature in your life. Besides being fun, nature offers life-enhancing self-care. If you can notice how well you are taking care of yourself by getting outside, it might encourage you to do so even more. and human well-being that they are creating hundreds of national forests for people to use to restore themselves. Firefighters with posttraumatic stress disorder are sent to the forest, where they hike, practice partner yoga, massage each other's arms with lavender oil, and create dried-flower collages. Prenatal mothers go to the forest for meditation, and cancer patients go to make crafts. Research shows that simply being able to see nature outside the window helps people with concentration and improved health indicators. Passive time spent in nature, like driving the scenic route instead of through the middle of town, affects people positively. In Sweden, researcher Matilda Annerstedt van den Bosch stressed people with math tests and simulated job interviews, then had them spend time in a virtual-reality forest, surrounded by sounds of nature. The subjects' heart rhythms returned to normal faster than people who spent the same amount of time in a room without the virtual forest. 2 WE ARE NATURE In my internet research, I learned that science can conclusively link nature to better health, but none of the articles actually mentioned why. Looking away from Western medical science to Eastern medical philosophy, it occurs to me that nature positively affects our well-being because it is elemental. We are nature. Our bodies and the body of the earth are made up of the very same things. Spending time in healthy, natural environments is like biofeedback for the human body. An environment in balance, in health, in beauty, and Spending time in healthy, natural environments is like biofeedback for the human body. If anything, after reading this, I hope you shut down your computer, turn off the TV, lace up some comfy shoes, and get outside. Get back to nature. Notes 1. Ruth Ann Atchley, David L. Strayer, and Paul Atchley, "Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings," PLoS One 7, no. 12 (2012): e51474. 2. Matilda Annerstedt van den Bosch et al., "Inducing Physiological Stress Recovery with Sounds of Nature in a Virtual Reality Forest—Results from a Pilot Study," Physiology & Behavior 118 (2013): 240–250. Jennie Hastings is a board-certified massage therapist, writer, and teacher. She is the creator of The Blossom Method and author of The Inspired Massage Therapist (Massage Blossom Books, 2012). She wants to be your friend on Facebook. Sign up for her monthly newsletter and check out her blog at

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