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The Healing Power of Nature

By Eddie Rose, Wellness Ambassador at Shangri-La Springs

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

It seems we have always intuitively “known” that being in nature heals. When we find ourselves experiencing nature’s loving embrace we  acknowledge our reactions as we involuntarily begin breathing deeper and our blood pressure noticeably adjusts. However there has been very little scientific research on the matter, until recently.

According to Time Magazine’s look into natures healing powers, several studies are being done. For instance, Dr. Qing Li, a professor at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, found that trees and plants emit aromatic compounds called phytoncides that, when inhaled, can spur healthy biological changes. These changes occur in a manner similar to those of aromatherapy, which has also been studied for its therapeutic benefits.

Furthermore, in his studies, Li has shown that when people walk through or even stay overnight in forests, remarkably their blood often exhibits changes that are associated with protection against cancer, better immunity and lower blood pressure.

Recent studies have also linked being in nature to symptom relief from health issues like heart disease, depression, cancer, anxiety and attention disorders. “The quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, good smells and fresh, clean air … all contribute to the effects,” says Li.

Those of us who live or work in locations that are designed around nature can attest to these benefits. Here in Southwest Florida we don’t need to travel far to gain these benefits and best of all, most are free. Head to one of our award-winning beaches for a barefoot stroll at sunset, a simple early morning walk through your yard as the birds are chirping or enjoy layers of nature’s abundance by visiting an amazing undiscovered gem like Shangri-La Springs.

Built in 1921, the legendary and historic Shangri-La Springs Resort in old downtown Bonita Springs on historic 41, is a hidden treasure in Southwest Florida. Nestled among a lush botanical garden overseen by two rare and prevailing Mysore figs trees (there are only 6 in the U.S.), the property also plays host to the sacred and time-honored “springs” that Bonita Springs is named after. This rich, mineral-infused spring has made the greater property an inherent source of healing and wellbeing since the time of the Calusa Indians.

Today, many report a similar healing experience when on this property, as you are washed over with the palpable energy of nature’s reverence for these grounds. Further enrich your nature-based experience by visiting the organic restaurant that sources its food from the property’s own certified organic gardens and orchard. In addition, Shangri-La also has a prized organic full-service spa, offering only natural, organic treatments and a steam room, sauna and private nature-filled courtyard surrounded by the botanical gardens.  This nature-based spa is a warm and inviting space that combines the healing power of touch with the healing power of nature for a truly holistic benefit to both mind and body. Shangri-La also has an extensive program line-up from yoga to Qi-Gong to crystal bowl meditations and several innovative workshops that seek to ground and support you.

Per Time Magazine,“A small 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural setting, such as a forest or a nature park, were less likely to ruminate—a hallmark of depression and anxiety—and had lower activity in an area of the brain linked to depression than people who walked in an urban area.” In addition, “Accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world,” the study authors wrote.

“When you have a short blast of nature exposure, people’s moods go up,” says Ming Kuo, an environment and behavior scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Need a blast? Free Art and Nature nights offer extensive interactive, multi-media experiences both indoors and outdoors among the gardens. These art nights occur every 2nd Wednesday of the month when the beautiful Great House gallery features new local artists for two months at a time, with April and May theme being BLOOM- all images of nature in various interpretations. The unique, rich landscape that makes southwest Florida known as a paradise is exemplified on these grounds. Formal garden and botanical tours are also available.

Be it morning coffee on your patio or a trip to Yosemite National Park, embrace whatever version of getting into nature speaks to you and leave the technology behind.

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
—John Muir, Our National Parks

About Eddie Rose:
Internationally Certified Grandmaster Martial Arts Instructor
Professor of the Fine Arts / Kyoshi ~ Certified 10th Degree Red Belt
Ordained Minister and Certified Healer
In over 40 years of martial arts training
Professor Rose has become skilled in many combat and healing disciplines such as Isshinryu Karate, Chinese Kempo, Ninjitsu (Angelic System), Pa Kua (Bagua) Gung-Fu, Seicho Jutsu, Kinesiology, Asian Philosophical Studies, Reiki, Chi-Kung (Qigong), Herbology, Hypnotherapy and various others. Professor Rose is also a 28+ year law enforcement/security veteran, with years of experience as a counselor, mentor, and ordained minister, devoted to facilitating the complete wholeness of “whosoever is willing”.

BLOOM Art Reception
Wednesday, May 10, 2017  (every second Wednesday) 6-9pm FREE to the public
Enjoy an evening of Art and Nature unique to SWFL on the lush botanical grounds of Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs.

Classes with Eddie Rose:
Tuesdays 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tiger Flower Qi Gong
Thursdays 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Tiger Flower Qi Gong
Sundays 12:15-1:15
Diurnal Meditation


Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

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