Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tree Therapy

Forests -- and other natural, green settings -- can reduce stress, improve moods, reduce anger and aggressiveness and increase overall happiness. Forest visits may also strengthen our immune system by increasing the activity and number of natural killer cells that destroy cancer cells.

This quote is from a recent Science Daily news article about the research done by Dr. Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla. But this is not news to a lot of us, especially those trying to live a well-rounded healthy life that includes the right diet and exercise, plenty of sunshine for the vitamin D, good posture, going barefoot, getting to bed soon after dark, and other lifestyle changes that mimic the way our paleo ancestors lived. Mark's Daily Apple had an interesting piece on the subject just ten days before this article came out called Forest Bathing.

One wonders if an ocean atmosphere would have the same effect. I've always thought that the salt sea air was the best air you could breathe and "everyone knows" how healthy seafood is. But I have always loved trees and have often wondered how I ever found myself living in a desert.

Anyway imagine my angst when I recently had to have a 40-year-old tree, a Canariensis pine, removed from my property because it was getting too big, making cracks in the walls between me and my neighbors, not to mention dropping needles in my neighbor's pool and generally making a mess every August. My husband and I had been saying for years that sometime that tree would have to go, I just finally decided that the time was now.

It was actually fascinating to watch how the men did it without damaging anything on my property or my neighbors.' Only one guy worked up in the tree, while three others worked on the ground to remove the branches as soon as they fell. After all the side branches were removed, the cutter tied heavy ropes around the remaining trunk in several places with two long ropes extending to the ground at the top and bottom. Then he cut between the ropes. Meanwhile the men on the ground pulled on the top rope to guide the trunk piece down on my side of the wall. The cut piece was caught by the ropes and hit the remaining trunk. From there, they pulled it down to the ground where it could be cut into smaller pieces.

I miss the tree, but since it wasn't a California native, it wasn't popular with the birds and local animals although the squirrels did love to eat the cones. But now I will have the opportunity to plant natives that will attract more of the native birds and fauna.


  1. it will be a whole new look in the backyard but I'm sure it will bring lots of joy, whatever you create. MK

  2. A new planting project is so fun. What are your plans for that area? Details, please.