I tried tree hugging – and it gave me the warm fuzzies

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As social distancing keeps us apart, apparently we should be hugging trees rather than each other. Some believe trees have healing powers and that wrapping your arms around a tree makes you happier and healthier. Sam puts tree hugging to the test…

Miss hugs? Me too. We haven’t been allowed to hug friends or family outside of our households for months and it’s really hard.

Humans crave physical touch and it’s actually good for us. When we hug it releases oxytocin or the ‘love hormone’, which relaxes us and makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

But with cuddles out of the question at least for the time being, how can we experience their magical powers?

Hugging trees, of course.

The idea has taken off in Iceland where forest rangers are encouraging citizens to seek solace in nature amid the coronavirus pandemic. They say hugging a tree for five minutes per day could help overcome feelings of social isolation.

Now, we all know being in green spaces is good for us but what is it that’s so special about trees?

People have been hugging trees for centuries, as far back as 1730 in India, because it’s believed trees have an energy frequency or vibration that has a healing and grounding effect on us.

Lovefit Festival
Photo: Lovefit festival

According to Matthew Silverstone, the author of Blinded by Science, research shows trees can improve many health issues such as ADHD, depression, headaches, and various mental illnesses.

So, is there a technique for tree-hugging? Seemingly not but apparently you’ll know your tree when you see it.

Weirdly, it’s actually true. I decided to take a leaf out of Iceland’s book and go in search of a nice tree to embrace. I walked a few minutes from my house and it wasn’t long before I fell for a magnificent-looking sycamore.

I wrapped my arms around it, pressed my cheek against the barky surface and closed my eyes. It was so soothing I just wanted to cling on and squeeze tighter. I was more conscious of my inhales and exhales and the sound of the birds seemed louder. Eventually, I let go and felt the need to whisper ‘thank you’ to my tree as I walked away.

The only downside? My neighbours probably think I’ve gone mad. But, yes, I hugged a tree – and I really rather liked it.

Main photo: Shutterstock

By Sam

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