Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I'm a proud tree-hugger! (But not for the reason you might expect!)
I've done a lot of hiking. When I was in acupuncture school, a friend of mine and I used to go hiking in the Columbia River Gorge whenever we had a long enough break between classes. Sure, all of our classmates thought we were slacking off. We let them think that. What they didn't know was that we had found the ultimate way to de-stress and allow our energy to flow smoothly so that we could study more efficiently.
What we found was that there was an interesting exchange taking place between us and the trees. Much like the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) that occurs between animals and plants, we discovered the existence of an energy exchange.
In Chinese medicine, the Liver is the main organ that is involved when we feel "stressed out." Stress causes our energy to clump together so that it doesn't move properly. One of the Liver's jobs is to assist in the smooth flow of Qi. In order to compensate for our energy not moving correctly, our Liver beefs itself up to try to handle the bigger load. What we end up with is too much Liver energy, creating an imbalance. The Liver is associated with the element of wood, and so a stressed-out person may be described as "having too much wood energy."
What we found is that when we went hiking, our stress simply disappeared. The trees, because they ARE wood, were taking all of our extra wood energy and using it to become bigger and stronger trees. They need that wood energy, we need to get rid of any extra wood energy. Pretty neat, huh?
So the next time you're feeling stressed out, go for a walk in a wooded area. And if no one's around, or if you're like me and don't care what other people think, give a tree a hug. You'll both feel better for it!