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Healing is the natural property of the body and is maintained by the innate self-regulation called homeostasis. However, a wide variety of factors can disturb self-regulation and interfere with the process of healing. Such factors include infections, injuries, mental trauma, scarcity of food, water, shelter, clothes, and exposure to the elements of nature. In addition, problems emerging from inside the body, such as asthma or abnormalities in organs, systems, hormones, and neurochemicals, can also affect healing.
 
In pregnancy, besides the above factors, environmental conditions such as noise, pollution, and exposure to chemicals can play an important role in causing health problems both in the mother and the baby in the womb.
 
Various research studies worldwide concluded that the lack of nature around pregnant mothers along with environmental pollution might lead to multiple physical and mental health problems in babies. They include low birth weight, premature birth, and autism. Some of the problems such as anxiety, depression, and proneness to stress can be transmitted to the baby through the mother. Mothers may suffer from stress, depression, miscarriage, diabetes, asthma, and other lung problems.
 
But the good news is that connecting with nature and spending time in green spaces can heal many health problems in pregnant mothers and unborn babies. For example, a remarkable research study showed that women who were pregnant during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a two-month span when the city was mandated to lower emissions and improve air quality. The study found that women in their eighth month of pregnancy during the Olympics (compared to women who delivered during the same calendar months years prior) delivered babies who were 0.8 ounces heavier.

 


Healing in a pregnant mother and an unborn baby can be seen from two points of view.

  • Prana or energy
Yoga and Ayurveda always advocated a strong connection with nature to prevent illnesses and heal them. According to both, all healing occurs due to energy. This energy is called Prana in India, Ki in Japan, Chi in China, and Ruha in the middle east. It is well known that urban landscapes where concrete, bricks, cement, asphalt, and other synthetic materials dominate the space, have much less pure and living energy. Intense and unnatural vibrations due to cars, trucks, trains, gadgets, and the noise from other sources fill the space leading to chaos and fatigue in the brain and the body. Such an environment inherently causes short or long-term illnesses. In contrast, in a natural environment, energy is purer, simple, and accessible for healing. It can be felt instantly as we enter nature.
 
Healing can occur even in the advanced stages of health problems. The damage done to the body and brain can be partially or fully reversed. It is due to the innate flexibility of the body and brain called neuroplasticity.
 
  • Scientific view
Nature provides space to move and engage in physical activities resulting in a relaxation response. The term was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard University. During relaxation response, our body is calm; emotions are under control; thoughts are not troubling us; the focus is good with fewer errors of judgment in daily life, and sleep and hunger are regulated. In addition, healing chemicals and hormones in the brain and the body are released. It includes dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, growth hormone, DMT, anandamide, GABA, and a host of others. Trees and plants also emit phytoncides, which bring a sense of well-being and strengthen the immune system. As we know, the immune system plays a vital role in defending the body and the brain from damage and helps in healing.  
 
Another piece of evidence worth mentioning here is the Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan. According to this ART, exposure to nature is not only an enjoyable and relaxing experience but also increases our ability to focus, pay attention, and concentrate. Nature helps us in speedier healing with fewer medications required. As a result, pain, anxiety, and the impact of stress are reduced. 

How much exposure to nature is good for healing?

For significant benefits to the body and the brain, a minimum of two hours of exposure to nature per week is essential.
 
In summary, from Yoga, Ayurvedic and scientific points of view, exposure to nature prevents many health problems in pregnant mothers and unborn babies and can reverse the health problems by healing the body and mind. 
 
We're currently working on a series of blog posts with Dr. Jivasu that will help deepen our understanding of the important concepts behind somatofulness and how it can nurture you from within.