It’s official – hugging a tree is good for your health…..

CLF - Olmstead ParksHere at The Terrace we are always keen to promote green business and are committed to being as environmentally aware as possible. We monitor our carbon footprint and source any products we use from ethically sound companies.

But being environmentally aware is about more than the business. It is, literally, at the root of what we do and how we seek to support the well being of our clients. We regularly run mindfulness taster sessions and longer courses and other therapies are based on a stillness and calm that takes us deep within our selves.

So it was with great interest that we read yesterday that researchers at the University of Exeter have found that those living in parts of London populated with a greater number of trees take fewer antidepressants than those who survive away from leafy lined roads and parkland.

It was a simple piece of analysis – data was gathered on the number of antidepressant prescriptions issued across London in 2009-2010 and then compared to the number of trees on the streets in the same area.The places with higher tree densities had lower prescription rates and although some of this might be explained by the greater affluence of some of these areas, and the reduction in respiratory illness in areas where pollution is filtered via the greenery, there is little doubt that being in touch with the seasons and with nature through the life cycle of the trees has a calming influence.

This news reminded us of a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver. Called In Blackwater Woods the rich imagery the poet uses takes the trees and turns them into a life force, energising and reminding us of the power of nature to heal. It also, I think, stresses the limits of the mortal life and the connection we have with the natural cycle of the world we are lucky enough to live in.

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go, to let it go.

There is a sense here of literally clinging to the tree trunks as pillars of light and life. What do trees mean to you? Do you notice them as part of the landscape, or see in them the spirit of life itself? They are, after all, our very breath…..

Touch For Health – an approach to wellness

touch-for-healthDriving home the other day I pulled the lever to wash my windscreen and nothing happened. The windscreen wash bottle was empty.  It was empty because I hadn’t thought to check it while it was still working.

Cars are a bit like our bodies. While everything is ok and they’re working well we don’t really think about them. Both need fuel at regular intervals and benefit from regular cleaning! It is only when you hear an unusual rattle or rumble coming from your car that you think that it might need some attention. Our bodies give us clues too. A headache, insomnia, stomach problems, a cold or a stiff neck can sometimes be early warning signs that the body is needing some attention.

Touch For Health encourages you to think about how your body is working beyond the anatomical and physiological aspects. A Touch For Health balance allows you to explore what is happening in your life in three dimensions – physical, physiological and psychological. By identifying what you would like to change about any of these dimensions you are working with the Touch For Health practitioner towards a state of optimum health.  In reality achieving this perfect state is difficult given all the challenges that life puts our way each day!

Try to imagine the three dimensions as each side of a triangle. Excessive pressure on anyone of these dimensions completely distorts the triangle and the body gives signs of dis-ease. An example is where emotional/ mental stress impacts on the functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems which in turn causes a negative impact on muscles and the body’s vital organs. Touch For Health works with the body’s energy systems to encourage healing and restore harmony.

If you would like to find out more about how you can influence your own health using the Touch For Health approach Irene Cox will be giving a talk and demonstration at The Terrace, 35 Staplegrove Road, Taunton TA1 1DG on Monday 23rd September at 6.30.

Irene Cox is a qualified Touch For Health practitioner, having met the standards set by the International Kinesiology College and an ITEC qualified holistic therapist. She works with children and adults at The Terrace in Staplegrove Road, Taunton.  For further information ring 01823 338968, email or