The choice to grow from seed, versus buying a plant already started, brings with it some particular attributes. Let's take a look at these, shall we?
First: As we discussed in the second episode of the Healthy Green Thumbs™ campaign, growing from seed allows for a much greater choice in variety of plants. Take lettuce for example-arugula, butter lettuce, iceberg, and romaine are just some of the varieties we can choose from.
Second: Will it grow? There is something thrilling about the anticipation of seeing if a seed that has been planted will actually grow. Ask any seasoned plant grower, and they will tell you that they still find it exhilarating when they go to visit their garden and notice that the seeds that they planted are actually sprouting! Couple that with the joy of then watching it grow and bloom into a flower, or produce a red, juicy tomato, become a tad tree that produces much needed shade on a hot summer day.
Third: Knowing we are connected to something much greater. We may prepare the soil, plant the seed, and water it, but experiencing a seed transform into a magnificent plant is a humbling reminder that there is a much greater power supporting all living things. Research shows that those connected with nature, something called nature connectedness, are happier.
What are your thoughts? Do you grow plants from seed? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Learn more about how growing plants can help your health and wellbeing by subscribing to our free, biweekly Healthy Green Thumbs™ e-newsletter: Learn more.
Everyone, even those who claim to have 'Brown Thumbs', can learn to grow healthy plants. The key is providing what plants need to grow well. The funny thing is, plants and humans require some of the same basic needs: light, a growing medium, nutrients and water.
Light: Plants need light exposure or sun to grow. If we are growing plants indoors, a sunny window may be enough. But for some plants, special lighting is required. When we grow plants outdoors, we need to plant seeds and plants in a setting that offers the amount of sunlight they need. Light and sun allow the plant to perform a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is essentially when a plant takes the energy from the light source and converts it into chemical energy (food source) that the plant can use later to fuel its activities. Just as we poop and pee, most plants give off waste too; oxygen. Good for us, because we need this to breathe!
Growing Medium: We need a home to grow in. So do plants. The type of home depends on the plant. Most plants need soil to sink their roots in so they can flourish. Other plants, however, can grow in water, or air, if they have somewhere to anchor their roots.
Nutrients: When we eat well, we feel well, right? The same is true for plants. Plants require essential nutrients. Knowing what they need and ensuring they get these nutrients will make your thumbs greener and your plants happier.
Water: Even the plants that thrive in the hottest desserts need at least some water. Water is an essential nutrient that no living being can thrive without. Finding the balance between providing enough versus overwatering can be tricky. Be sure to look up the water requirements for the plants you want to grow.
Getting in sync with what your plants need to thrive can take a little time and patience. Just as raising a newborn infant or puppy, we need to rely on others for advice, search for instructions, and just get to know this living entity we are connecting with.
Over the next year, the Healthy Green Thumbs™ campaign will dive in deeper to help you with tips on how to provide these four essential components needed for successful plant growing. We will also grow a community of like-minded people trying to enhance their health and well-being by connecting with nature through plant growing. Whether you choose to grow herbs in your kitchen window, keep an aloe plant alive or take on a full outdoor vegetable garden, the Healthy Green Thumbs™ community is where you can get information, share your successes and find support during the inevitable failures.
Join now for free: Healthy Green Thumbs Information
On June 21st, at 11:54 EDT, those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere will experience the longest day of the year, while those who live in the Southern Hemisphere will experience the darkest day, and the beginning of winter. Just the word, summer, conjures up images in all of us. Playing flashlight tag, sweet, juicy watermelon refreshing our parched throats, and hours surrounded by water.
Mention summer and water immediately comes to mind for many. Trips to the beach, fishing on a lake, hiking to a gushing waterfall deep in the forest, diving into the clear, blue tranquility of a pool-the options are endless. As we indulge in the fun and joy of water this summer, perhaps we will also consider expanding our awareness of water does for us.
In case you missed it last fall, I shared a series on water and the healing benefit it offers. Feel free to take a look.
Part 1: Water-The Big Story
Part 2: Is Water In Your Wellness Toolbox?
Part 3: Wow! Water Can Heal That?
Let's soak up this precious resource as much as we can this summer!
This is not medical advice. Continuing to read this blog assumes that you have read this website's disclaimer.
Part 3 of the series, Water-The Big Story
In a world filled with information, how do you filter out what is right for you and your health? Clinicians are called to rely on evidence to make our clinical decisions and recommendations. Evidence comes in a variety of forms - folklore, anecdotal, qualitative research, and quantitative research. The gold standard being randomized controlled trials. The more evidence that suggests a particular modality has the ability to promote our health or wellbeing, the more likely it will be accepted into mainstream healthcare.
The 8th Annual Blue Mind Summit was filled with these various forms of evidence linking health and well-being to water. Perhaps the most impressive research presented was on waters ability to reduce anxiety.
Let's take a look at some of this evidence.
Anecdotal basically means a personal account, or story of an experience. The reliability of a story is often based on how trustworthy the storyteller is. However, when large numbers of people, from various walks of life, start to report the same experience, it builds credibility. Nature, including water, falls into this realm easily because how it interacts with us is so abstruse.
One of my favorite personal accounts on how water heals comes from a couple that call themselves the Sand Mates. Diane and Mike Lough work together to build exquisite sandcastles. Diane experiences chronic pain in her shoulder after she was electrocuted in an elevator. When she builds sandcastles by the sea, however, the pain miraculously disappears for a few days.
Rebecca Illing describes her experience with addiction as, "repeating things that are detrimental to my health." She didn't know how to find inner peace. Water was the anecdote. Here is her story: Video
If water can help relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) incurred by our soldiers, imagine what it can do for the rest of us? Force Blue Team, a group of special ops diver veterans, are just one of many veteran groups using water as part of their healing tools. As they report, water allows them to connect with something greater, experiencing a state of awe.
Many who have been exposed to trauma are reporting that engaging with water has literally been life saving from the anxiety, stress and depression that can occur with PTSD. Of note, a Psychiatrist who works with Veterans has said that therapeutic recreation in nature is just part of the treatment plan for PTSD. Mental healthcare, such as psychotherapy, medications and/or other treatments are often required as well. Veterans experiencing feelings of suicide or PTSD should alert their healthcare providers immediately, go to an Emergency room or consult with Headstrong.org.
Qualitative research is an exploratory process seeking to understand the why and how of a social phenomena. This type of inquiry might best be used to gather the themes and experiences of all the anecdotal evidence being expressed about waters healing power.
An example using this type of research is a study done that examined pregnant women’s' views on using water exercise as a pain reduction tool. Lower back pain is common amongst pregnant women.
The study found that the pregnant women studied do desire to exercise. The women reported water exercise was an acceptable way to do that. Water exercise did indeed have physical and mental well-being benefits. The greatest barrier to using this modality was found to be crowded pools.
Quantitative research is a structured way of gathering and analyzing data from various sources.
In 2017, a group of researchers reviewed the studies that were currently available that investigated the potential benefits of outdoor bluespaces (lakes, rivers, sea, etc) and human health. A study of this sort, where multiple studies are reviewed and analyzed, is called a meta-analysis. This meta-analysis found that the strongest evidence linking bluespaces and health existed in the arena of mental health and well-being. The relationship of outdoor blue activity and general health, its impact on obesity and cardiovascular health, however, was less consistent.
Dr. Justin Feinstein, a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Director of the LIBR Float Clinical and Research Center, presented his research on floatation therapy at the Blue Mind Summit. It was by far the most impressive evidence of the summit. Fifty anxious and depressed participants, with various degrees of anxiety and stress-related disorders, participated in a study examining the effect of a single one-hour floating session with reduced environmental stimulation. Participants were asked to float supine in a pool of water saturated with Epsom salt for one hour.
The results are impressive. Every study participant had a reduction in anxiety.
Dr. Feinstein has been awarded a grant by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to study this further. Imagine the implications float therapy centers might have on healthcare professionals experiencing burnout, college students studying for final exams and others who may not have a full-blown anxiety disorder.
Many of us already know, by our own experience, that water makes us feel better in some way, whether it be in our mind, body or spirit. As long as we can safely engage in it, and the water itself is healthy, there is no need to wait for a study or a prescription. We can choose to add this into our health and wellness toolbox. Float spas are popping up in many areas. A warm bath with Epsom salts may be just what we need to help sleep or ease the stress of a hard day. Sometimes just soaking our feet in warm water can soothe our soul.
Does this information intrigue, and perhaps inspire you, to engage in water in a more intentional way?
Do you have stories of your own that you would like to share on how water has healed you? Please share in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts.
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