Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art & Science of Forest Bathing

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~ Helen Keller
I had a reunion with an old school friend visiting from Japan, who presented me with a gift - a bottle of Hinoki essential oil (aka Japanese Cypress, or Chamaecyparis obtusa).

My friend told me that Hinoki is a type of cypress tress that grows only in the southern forests of Japan. Hinoki wood is what traditional Japanese bath tubs are made from. I was interested to discover that Hinoki is popular as a building material for sacred constructions, such as river shrines and temples. It is one of the 5 Sacred Trees of the Kiso Forest.

I was delighted, opened it up right away, and deeply inhaled its refreshing and uplifting woody scent.

For a moment I imagined myself walking meditatively in a misty and mysterious Japanese forest, breathing in crisp fresh forest air... breathing out all the cares I had the world...

I was reminded of the concept of Shinrin Yoku, a Japanese term meaning 'forest bathing'. Not literally having a bath in the forest, but the restorative act of taking the sights, sounds and sensations of a leisurely walk in the woods.

I became aware that I held a little piece of Japanese forest in the palm of my hand. I could recreate the atmosphere of Shinrin Yoku at home with my essential oil burner. I was also excited at the prospect of being mentally transported to a traditional Japanese bathtub in my own bathroom by simply adding the essential oil to my bath blends.


As an essential oil, Hinoki has stress relieving, relaxing, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, immunity boosting and insect repellant properties, so it's clear to see why this tree has been so valued for its cleansing and purifying benefits in buildings and bathtubs.

Shinrin Yoku is a concept I came across some years ago. The Forest Agency of Japan first came up with this idea in 1982, promoting a sense of health and wellbeing by taking restorative trips to the forest. Its popularity continues to this day with over 48 forests trails in Japan officially dedicated to Shinrin Yoku forest bathing.

Most of us know intuitively that spending time outside connecting with the elements is good for the soul, but in fact there has been extensive research extolling its benefits, from the physiological effects on immunity boosting, nervous system, cardiovascular system, to the psycho-spiritual effects on our mood, mind and holistic well being.

As a herbalist and forager the concept resonates with my chosen way of life. I'm made aware of the great benefits of the healing power of nature time and time again with my own eyes and experience guiding groups for walks and sharing the abundant healing benefits of nature together.

I love feeling the warmth of the sun, cleansing natural water, cooling breezes and grounding earth. I have had many personal experiences of an increased sense of happiness and wellbeing spending time outdoors, so I was not at all surprised to hear that extensive research on how this affects us confirms what we already know deep in our bones.

How do you evoke the healing benefits of the forest in your life? Do you visit the woods near you? Where are your favourite forest bathing spots? Do you use woody essential oils blends, incenses or something else to bring the essence of the forest into your own home?

I'd love to hear your own experiences of forest bathing and healing power of walking in the woods. I welcome you to share your reflections in the comments.


Fiona Morris
The Natural Healing Guide

Herbalist, Massage Therapist,
Mystic & Holistic Business Mentor

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

My Sacred Self Care Interview on Faith Canter's Self-Love Summit

Love is in the air...

St. Valentine's Day is round the corner. What are you doing to celebrate this day of love? Of course, we don't need to wait for a special occasion. Everyday is an opportunity to welcome more love into our lives.


Did you catch my video on Faith Canter's Self-Love Summit Series yet?

To help get you into that loving feeling, I'd love for you to check out my interview on the link below. 

I share my tantalising top tips for how to receive some tender loving care from the real love of your life... YOU! 

In this interview, you will discover:

- Why self-love is not selfish and actually serves others

- How to transform your relationship with your inner critic

- How nature and the healing power of flowers can help heal your heart

- How loving yourself more helps you to receive more love from others 

- & many more of my sacred self care top tips to help fill your self-love cup...




Thank you Faith for inviting me to share my musings on one of my favourite subjects, sacred self care!

You'll also find more inspirational words of love and wisdom from the wonderful line-up of speakers on Faith's Self-Love Summit YouTube page.

How do you show yourself love & care? When was the last time you did this? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts... 

Love & rose petals, 

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Festive Mulled Wine Recipe (Great for Apple Juice or Cider too)

As the cold weather settles in and the festive season draw near, there's nothing better than to warm up in the evenings with a cheery mug or glass of mulled wine.

This recipe with fresh citrus and whole spices gives the mulled wine a delicious vibrancy. You can get creative using other bases like apple cider, or for an alcohol free version, spice up your warm apple juice!



Ingredients:
1 bottle red wine (alternatively, cider or apple juice for non alcohol drinkers and kids)
2 large oranges, juiced (add in both juice and rinds)
3 lemon slices
Fresh ginger slices
Whole spices: cinnamon pieces or stick, pinch of cloves (6-8), cardamom (use 5-7, crush slightly to release seeds), 2-3 star anis, nutmeg - grated
Sugar or honey to taste (I prefer mine without!)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Gently heat to gentle simmer for 20min.

Turn off heat & leave covered to infuse to intensify spiced flavour.

Taste and add seasoning or sweetness to your desire.

Warm up again and strain into a glass or mug to serve with citrus garnish if desired.

Drink and be merry!

Festive wishes,

Fiona Morris
The Natural Healing Guide

Herbalist, Massage Therapist,
Mystic & Holistic Business Mentor

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Rose - a fragrant remedy to soothe upset emotions


"The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together." 
Saadi (Iranian Poet, 1184-1283)

Moroccan Roses growing in the Atlas Mountains Dades Gorge where we went 
on our honeymoon. There is an annual rose festival in this region every year. 
Lush green oases produce heavenly scents at the foot of dry red earthen slopes.
This iconic bloom is strewn throughout literature as a symbol of love, passion, romance. Given as a token of affection to lovers and mothers worldwide throughout the ages, the unmistakable soft sweet scent of rose evokes a heart-melting gentleness, compassion and sensual femininity. Rose is revered in herbal medicine where a patient might require a 'herbal hug'.

While training to become a herbalist, my dear grandmother, Oma suffered a stroke, lost her ability to speak and became paralysed down one side. My family experienced the loss of our cherished matriarch to this condition and the anticipation of her passing. This prompted me to do my herbal medicine dissertation on how herbal medicine can be supportive for the experience of grief and loss.

I surveyed all herbalists registered with the most popular professional bodies of herbal medicine in Britain. Out of the many herbs used in prescriptions for a broad range of actions to support patients experiencing the emotional and physiological effects of grief, rose was by far the most widely used. The aroma of this gentle plant can be a soothing balm even in the depths of sorrow.

Rose petals and hips have a wide range of applications in health and beauty products, cooking and crafting. The buds and petals are cooling and mildly astringent, helping to reduce inflammation. Rose water has been used traditionally as an eye wash, skin tonic, and refreshing for over-heated skin.

The rose hip seed are rich in vitamin C and healing as a cold-pressed oil to restore scar tissue and skin irritations, as a tincture or syrup to boost immunity when depleted or at the change of seasons.

I often recommend adding a few drops of rose essential oil to a base oil and using this regularly to massage into pulse points or onto the chest and throat, common areas of tension where there is emotional upset. Tincture of rose can be taken as a herbal rescue remedy, a few drops on the tongue or added to water, in times of overwhelm or distress.

Love and rose petals,

I encourage you to fall in love with yourself first for the ultimate relationship at my upcoming Nurturing Rose Remedies Workshop on Wed 22nd July 2015 6.30 - 8pm - £10. Learn to create a healing range of delicate rose concoctions with many applications, but especially to soothe emotions and gently uplift spirits. Make your own handmade remedies to take home. 

Places are limited so booking & payment in advance is vital to secure your place on 0131 226 3223 or edinburgh@nealsyardremedies.com.



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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Herbal Tarot Reading New Moon in Gemini - 16th June


Welcome to this moon's herbal tarot reading! 

This new moon is in social, adaptable gemini, a mutable air sign representing themes such as communication, connections and intellectual inspiration. Ruled by swift moving planet mercury and associated with the colour yellow, I felt drawn to set up for this reading looking out onto Edinburgh's Salisbury Crags amongst a swathe of buttercups gently shivering in the breeze. 

It's a slightly overcast evening after recent sunny spells, but the flowers brighten up the cloudy midsummer evening light. It's a joy to sit outdoors with my flask of tea, feeling the earth beneath me, cozy on a rug, and finally getting to know my beautiful new Mucha Tarot cards, a gift from my sweet sister.

I scanned around me for nearby plant life and spot plantain seed heads, fluffy white cow parsley, vibrant purple pea flowers of common vetch vines peeking out at me invitingly. I gather a few for the tarot offering and settle down to marvel at their shapes and colours. 

My shuffling and plant arranging amongst a shimmering sea of golden petals attracts some curious dogs enjoying the evening air and their apologetic pet humans. I don't mind at all. I love dogs and reminds me of many great times leisurely lounging out in nature with my dear Whisky dog. 

It strikes me that dogs embody in many ways the qualities of gemini: curious, adaptable, playful, friendly. For many of us these fur-babies invite us to reconnect with a lightness of heart and unadulterated joy that can get lost with the cynicism of age... 

Now on to your reading...

Take a moment to 
breathe... 
into your heart... 
relax... 
body & mind... 
close your eyes 
& focus your intention 
for the upcoming cycle.

When you are ready, open your eyes and choose your card:


Card 1     Card 2     Card 3


Love and blessings,

Fiona Morris - Herbalist & AstroTarot Reader


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