Hugging trees is good for our us!
In Iceland, the forestry service really love their trees. Thinking how best to help people overcome the sense of isolation brought about by the coronavirus measures, in late March they started clearing snow to let people visit the trees to give them hugs!
The Icelandic Forest Service, mindful of all the benefits of being around trees, is recommending Icelanders to go out into nature, whilst being very careful to observe social distancing, to give a tree a hug. Forest Ranger Þór Þorfinnsson in a news interview with the Icelandic Broadcasting Service RÚV spoke of having “…such a wonderful feeling of relaxation and then you’re ready for a new day and new challenges.”
Hugging trees is good for our health
“Hugging a tree increases levels of hormone oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for feeling calm and emotional bonding. When hugging a tree, the hormones serotonin and dopamine make you feel happier.”
In this dayhugging your partner boosts the production of oxytocin. So the act of hugging may be the stimulant for hormone production: does hugging a tree simulate that feeling of a loved one or ‘mother’ figure thereby increasing the hormone production?
“I put my cheek on the tree and feel the warmth”
Here in the UK, David Knott, Curator of the Living Collection at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is on a mission to hug 350 trees!
Raising funds to help save the incredible Sequoia Avenue at Benmore Botanic Garden, David has set up a Just Giving Page and is a good way through his challenge to hug 350 trees. David describes the avenue as: “…one of the finest entrances to a botanical garden anywhere in the world…” In desperate need of innovative and substantial works, hopefully these beautiful trees will be protected for many generations to come.
Hug and protect!
To ensure that we continue to gain these positive health benefits from trees we must protect them and plant them! With inspirational people like David Knott around I am pledging to do the same and hug 365 trees, one for every day of the year!
So please hug a tree with me (you don’t have to hug 365 I promise!), and take some time to absorb the good feelings! And in exchange for the positive health benefits gifted to you, why not look out for that tree and others, protect it from damage, plant a tree, and perhaps most importantly spread the word and let’s all be #ShamelessTreeHuggers.
This is a fantastic adventure for kids and adults. We climbed a massive oak tree (myself and my two boys 11 and 16) … You climb the tree in your own time I went up once and sat and admired the view for a while but my youngest boy managed to go up and down three times. The price of the ticket included access to Bowhill grounds which as the sun was shining was great to walk around and there is also a courtyard coffee shop. All Highly recommended.