Walking On The Wild Side: Forest Therapy For Physical and Mental Health
Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador and founder of Bioquark interviews Amos Clifford, author and founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.
Ira Pastor Comments:
On the last several shows, we have spent time on the different hierarchical levels of the health, disease, and aging process.
We’ve discussed that “biological aging” is an extremely complex process that is controlled by a series of nested hierarchies that expand from the “very small” (genes, proteins, and gene regulatory networks) on up through the larger, more complex cell, tissue, organ, and body segment physiological regulatory networks, and then into an organism’s complex internal and external micro-environment, discussing topics such as the microbiome and macrobiome.
One area we have not touched on much yet is the topic of what we refer to as the complex “cosmo-biologic” dynamics that effect our health and wellness.
When we refer to “cosmo-biolgic” dynamics we are referring to the increasing amount of evidence in the scientific literature as to how major cosmic level factors (big things) affect us all and parts of our biology and health.
Items on this list of “big things” include gravity (see recent information on the gene expression changes in astronaut twins in the international space station), to the earth’s natural electromagnetic field, to time (see the field evolving field of chronobiology), as well as light (solar and lunar cycles) and even sound and acoustics.
One component of this area which has become quite popular in recent years is that of nature therapy.
Nature therapy, sometimes referred to as eco-therapy, describes a broad group of techniques or treatments with the intention of improving an individual’s mental or physical health, specifically with an individual’s re-emersion into nature or the biosphere, this global ecological system integrates all living beings and their relationships, including their various interactions.
One sub-segment of this space is “forest bathing”, or Shinrin-Yoku, which describes the practice that combines a range of exercises and tasks in an outdoor environment.
Garden therapy, horticultural therapy, and ocean therapy may also be viewed as forms of nature therapy.
Today, we have a fascinating guest who is really at the epicenter of these activities and is going to take us further along this theme, and that is Amos Clifford.
Mr. Clifford is founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, a project linking re-connecting nature immersion with health care globally.
Amos holds a B.S. in Organizational Development, and a M.A. in Counseling from the University of San Francisco.
He began his career as a wilderness guide in 1972, and taught his first nature connection class to troubled teens in 1973. He served for many years in wilderness adventure programs in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
He is founder of Turning Point Youth Services in Tulare County, California, where he developed and managed programs that included pioneering approaches to eco-therapies connecting troubled teens to nature.
Mr. Clifford is the author of several books including Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature.
On this show we will hear from Mr. Clifford:
About his background, how he became interested in social work, and this exciting area of nature re-emersion. The philosophy behind nature therapy. His work with troubled teens and the mental and wellness benefits of nature therapy. He will also discuss some of the biological evidence that is being collected related to the therapeutic benefits of forest bathing.
Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.
Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter: @IraSamuelPastor
If you liked this interview, be sure to check out our interview exploring the human-animal connection for health and wellbeing!
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