“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forest s are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
In this last of our “why you should be forest bathing” themed blogs, let’s look at a few more reasons why we should appreciate the trees in our lives.
Have a Heart for our Tall, Green Friends
The latest from the scientific community is the recent discovery that trees have a “heartbeat,” or distinct but barely detectable pulsing mechanism.The pulsing is believed to act in the same fashion as a heart, pumping the necessary water and nutrients from roots to leaves.
And speaking of water, anti-cancer terpenes (the main active in essential oils) are most dense right after it rains. They swirl around in the woodsy air, just waiting for you to come in and breathe deeply!
We discussed the many health benefits in the first two blogs, but there’s more to trees and plants than most people realize.
Can Plants be Trained?
Australian ecologist Monica Gagliano has conducted several studies proving that plants can be trained. Similar to Pavlov’s dog that salivated at the bell even without food, Gagliano and her team used light (reward) and airflow (conditioning agent). They found that the plants would grow toward a fan that was initially lit even later when the light was removed.
But that is barely scratching the surface.
The Power of Words
A fascinating experiment by IKEA UAE focused on the effects of words on plants. Placing two Dracaenas at a school, they gave the exact same water, sunlight and fertilizer to the plants, but each received a different looped voice recording. One played constant verbal compliments, and the other verbal threats and bullying words. The children were told to speak their own positive and negative words to match the recordings.
This is what the plants looked like after a month:
Sticks and stones may break bones – but, it turns out – words can ALSO harm you. Guess which plant got bullied?
Plants Have Feelings, Too
Another experiment (by Mythbusters) amazed the program staff. It showed that plants have primary perception, reacting to negative thoughts and emotions. Other studies have shown memory of those who hit or abused them when tracked on a polygraph machine.
So what are we saying here?
One thought might be that we are probably missing so much in our world by moving too fast. Hopefully, the silver lining of the current national quarantine is learning to slow down. A second would be that words and thoughts have great power. Pay more attention to what you are thinking and speaking.
But mainly, we are reminded that our God is a BIG God, and has created an amazingly complex world for us to enjoy. Accept the invitation to explore it. One way is to plan a visit to east Texas (once the quarantine is finished, of course!) and sample a little forest bathing here at Lake Fork Providence RV Park. What do you have to lose, except for some stress and maybe a few aches and pains?
And hey, you might even make a friend while you’re chatting with the oaks and pines.
Lots of Trees = Strong Immune System
In the last blog, we discussed the amazing benefits of forest bathing, or spending time in the woods. You’ll find a wealth of health there, including stress hormone reduction, 30% average energy increase, improved sleep, and a cardiovascular health boost. Phytoncides (essential tree oils) are found in forest air, especially pine trees and cypress, and activate the immune system’s natural killer cells.
Americans typically spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, according to an EPA study. And right now–for those in many metro areas–it’s 100% due to COVID-19. Yikes!
Indoor natural pollutants like radon, molds, and pet dander can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors, and that’s not even including the toxicity of typical cleaning solutions, pesticides and chemical off gassing of man-made furnishing materials. Not the ideal atmosphere for a long, healthy life.
The contrast between unhealthy indoor air and immune boosting woodsy air has never been greater. No wonder forest bathing is gaining so many fans.
Use the Downtime to Plan a Healthier Future
With the Corona Virus bringing life to a screeching halt, many people have been forced to change their habits. Hand sanitizer and social distancing are great tools to “flatten the curve” and shorten the pandemic’s reign of fear.
But this is also a great time look at your entire health picture, starting with lifestyle. Is it time to add visits to the country? Are you ready for a few tweaks or changes to improve your health and quality of life? Or maybe even a new chapter, choosing to view life from your own home on wheels? The silver lining of any crisis is that through processing it, doors often open to new possibilities.
Don’t Wait until the Next Crisis
Many people do not truly explore the many options open to them regarding health and general lifestyle choices until a crisis occurs. Options like extended stays or full time living in beautiful wooded surroundings like Lake Fork’s Providence RV Park in east Texas.
There are still a few spots open, so start your new health plan with a visit to Providence for some forest bathing once the quarantine lifts.
Talk to others who’ve already discovered the value of breathing in pure country air, and enjoying acres of lush, health giving trees and foliage.
Who wouldn’t want to live longer, and with better quality of life?
It’s easier than you think!
Into the Woods
The woods can be a scary place to a kid. It’s a world of its own—dense, wild, and filled with hidden things.
But once you’re an adult, (and stop reading fairy tales), you realize the woods can be a fascinating place. Walks through the woods make for special moments. A rare glimpse of wildlife, an unexpected patch of berries, or dramatic rays of sunlight pouring in on a wooded path can be breathtaking. Wildflowers can chase any leftover stress from a long day or week right out of your world.
But aside from its beauty, did you know the woods holds important benefits for human health?
Trees are not just great for stress release, but several studies have shown they help our immune systems in measurable and direct ways.
Forest Bathing: Grab Your Rubber Ducky and Head for the Woods
Forest Bathing is a thing. Really.
In 2006, Japanese researchers from Nippon Medical School published a study that confirmed the powerful effect trees have on our immune systems.
If you live in a tree-rich environment, or visit one regularly, you inhale all kinds of substances that build up your Natural Killer Cells, making them more effective and aggressive. They go into turbocharge mode eliminating viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
It’s a natural medicinal bath!
And the east Texas piney woods are the best. Spectacular benefits have long been associated with pines. From antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, to hormone support and free radical scavenging.
You take a dose of anti-aging goodness with every breath.
It’s Never too Late to Turn Back the Clock
So start thinking about aging well. About surrounding yourself with nature to take advantage of all the powerful health benefits placed in this world for you by your Creator.
There are plenty of ways to kick stress to the door, but waking up to the beauty of the woods outside your window is the best. Enjoy your coffee along with a relaxing forest bath.
So come check out Providence RV Park in Lake Fork, east Texas. Come for the fishing, the boating, the berry picking, the walking, the relaxing.
Or come to discover your anti-aging and health benefits waiting in the woods.
Donny Moore, one of our full-time residents at Lake Fork Providence RV Park, bought his Thor ACE motor home a few years ago for workamping purposes (and for you pet lovers, it is also known for its furbaby-friendly design).
Saying Yes to New Adventures
Donny enjoys some downtime
Donny’s son was headed to Oregon for a new entrepreneurial venture, and Donny wanted to help him get established. He decided, however, that he didn’t want to commit to living in Oregon with family back here in Texas. So, he purchased his Class A motor home, and headed northwest.
Buying an RV turned out to be the best way to go. His son’s job situation didn’t pan out the way they had hoped, and he ultimately chose to return to Texas.
With his new home on wheels, Donny could now live anywhere he wanted, for as long as he wanted. Of course, he picked Providence! Why? “I loved the security of a gated community, along with the trees, and the relaxing, spacious feel of the park,” he says.
Maddie, his 14 year old miniature Yorkie, agrees. She’s been his little sidekick for years, and loves taking strolls with him around the park. She also loves being pampered, and has Donny wrapped around her little dew claw.
Lady Maddie, who clearly thinks life is one big spa treatment…
Donny owned a grocery store for a couple years, then got into the antique business with two shops. These days, his unique finds can be found in Tyler’s famous Ye Olde City Antique Mall. Look for his company, Love Antiques n Auctions, and say hello.
The place to go antiquing on a sunny Texas day
The Art of Downsizing
As one of the managers for Providence RV Park, I asked Donny how hard it was for him to downsize when he first moved into his 30′ motor home. He just laughed. “It isn’t hard for men. It’s only hard for women. Women are too attached to their stuff.”
It was my turn to laugh. Why? Because when I moved into my own RV, I read every article and blog I could find on the subject, and “downsized” as well as I could, then put the remainder of my things into storage. Like, um, THREE storage units. Yeah. He’s on to something there.
Donny’s best advice when you’re looking for the perfect RV is to treat the deal like you are buying a car. Shop around for the best price, and don’t forget the importance of their customer service department. Look for reviews and check on their reputation. After the sale, it’s just you and them, and you need to know they will be responsive.
And when you’ve found the perfect RV, come to Lake Fork Providence RV Park, where you’ll find the perfect spot for your perfect home.
Get started right with Mary Jane’s guide to Glamping
The world of glamping (glamour camping) is exploding right now, and happens to be the star of our second half of The New American Dream. In part 1, we discussed workamping (work camping or working from the road) and how it suits the changing needs for many who are growing out of the suburban lifestyle. Mobile freedom is the new prize for living well.
Living Without the Stuff
Many homes have basements, attics, and garages–great places to accumulate and store everything needed to go with the traditional family package. Unfortunately, we often wake up one day to discover the unhappy truth that we do not own all this stuff — it owns us. At one time, each item had its purpose. But now, decades later, lifestyle and priority changes are causing an entire generation to reflect and recalibrate.
How did we get all this stuff? Are there things just sitting that others can be using? Is it time for a lifestyle inventory?
The Cost of Stuff
Somewhere between starter homes and retirement homes, we are discovering that rooms of clutter and boxes of stuff have limited us. Weighed us down. Cost us money, time, and energy spent maintaining and upgrading (and sometimes just LOOKING for) our stuff. We’ve realized that instead of making our world fuller, too often it has actually made it smaller. Our focus turned inward where we had everything we needed. We settled for living life vicariously through characters and scenes on our flat screen TVs, forgetting there was a big, beautiful world outside waiting to be explored.
Enter the RV lifestyle. By scaling down and hitting the road, you can choose any number of RV options. You can move into a full-time long term RV Park as your home base (Providence RV Park, situated in the east Texas piney woods near Lake Fork, has everything from weekender options to annual part time and full time). You may find you love the woods so much you don’t want to roam beyond it. Or you can unhook and take off to visit places you’ve always wanted to visit but without the hassle of having to book and pay for hotel rooms.
The more adventurous enjoy the idea of boondocking, or going off the beaten path to exotic locales. In exchange for often breathtaking views, they don’t mind foregoing the basic comforts of being able to “plug in” to electric and sewer facilities typically available at more permanent locations.
Glamping: the Best of All Worlds
But what about those who have a luxury mindset they can’t bear to leave behind as they head out to the wild blue yonder? Or those wanting to enjoy nature’s stunning views while surrounding themselves with at least SOME of the comforts of home? Yes, glamping is for the Eva Gabors in life who shudder at the thought of roughing it, even for a brief stint. You can glamp in tents, yurts, treehouses, tipis, and–of course–RVs. The point is to make your experience the most memorable ever.
Naturally Elegant Yurt
RVs are easy to glamp up…all you need is money!
To some, that means bringing your Edison string lights, a bottle of wine and a Coleman queen size air cot with goose down duvet to outfit your tent. To others, it means booking a romantic treehouse “hotel” room to get you up, up, and away from it all. If you’re anywhere near the DFW area in Texas, check out Grandview Treetops. You can nest in private luxury for a weekend or so high above a working ranch and raw goat dairy on 95 acres with trails and plenty of room to hike. Or not.
So check out the glitzy world of glamping with plenty of guides, directories and how-to manuals like Mary Jane Butters’ guide on Amazon. There are so many possibilities out there. Consider catching up on all the life you may have missed. You know, while you were looking for your stuff.
Birds eye view of a sun drenched Texas morning! (Grandview, Texas)
The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough, Montana): The only tent in town with A/C, hardwood floors and heated bathroom flooring!
One of several Treehouse Point options starting from $120 per night (Issaquah, Washington)