Licensed Psychologist, Missouri;
Licensed Psychologist, Oregon;
Registered Psychologist (Clinical, Counseling & Health) by HCPC, United Kingdom; Board Certified Medical Psychologist, ABMP; Board Certified Psychodramatist/Trainer
I am available for teleconsultations for international cases. I will also be providing psychological services directly as a psychologist at the Greater Ozark Rural Psychologists clinic in Mansfield, Missouri.
What We Don’t Think About: Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies, Nature Interaction & Health
Rory Fleming Richardson, Ph.D., ABMP, TEP
When we are young, we are invincible.
When we are middle aged, we say “Things are not that bad yet.”
When we get to be 60+, we start to take things seriously.
When we get to be 65, we say “Oh crap!” and worry about our children.
When it comes to health practices, the lines written above appear to be the norm for most individuals. Some of us remember grandparents and parents trying to get us to take this vitamin or supplement, do this or that healthy thing, or saying “go outside, play in the yard and enjoy the fresh air.” Once we were old enough to ignore them, we did think that we were invincible. The world I grew up in of the 1950s and 1960s is not the world we have today. The level of pollution, depleted nutrients in the foods, rampant vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and electronic smog is higher than it has ever been. The prose above is what I have found is true for me. Over the last 65 years, the amount of nutrients in our foods have been reduced. A 2004 study of food nutritional value between 1950 to 1999 showed a statistically significant decline in the medians range, from 6% for protein to 38% for riboflavin.1 This study has been further confirmed by other studies in Europe.2 This is further complicated by the herbicides and pesticides that have, at this point, touched every person in the civilized world, interfering in the metabolizing, absorbing, and retention, of the vitamins and minerals.3
What about the “go outside, play in the yard, and breath fresh air” command of our parents? Although some of this was not just for our health, but for our parents sanity, fresh air and being in nature have been proven to be beneficial to health.4 Even people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have been found to benefit from being in contact with nature.5 Health benefits are seen throughout the literature to see for both physical and emotional health.6 But is there more to it than just being in a natural setting? In the 1960s, there was the revolution of making shoes out of synthetic, insulating materials. Prior to that, leather (or skin) was used to make shoes. The leather was a conductive material. Prior to shoes, we were barefoot. Like it or not, we are bioelectrical/biochemical entities. It is not hard to understand that if we have electrical processes within us, we may be impacted by connection with a grounding source, specifically, the earth. The discovery of connection the with the earth stems back into ancient times, but we rediscovered it thanks to Clint Ober, a retired pioneer in cable television, in 1998. Since then, the benefits to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and calm emotions, has been documented in multiple peer-reviewed journals, and various case studies.7 8 One of the things I like about the earthing, or grounding approach is that it does not cost anything. You simply have to have bare skin in contact with the earth. Given the number of diseases that impact people’s lives through inflammation, the free treatment option of spending time barefoot outside or working in the garden using your hands in the soil to plant and care for plants would appear to be the best option to give healing a chance.
How about the play and activity? Our body has three fluid systems: cerebral spinal fluid, which is a slow leak in and leak out circulation; the vascular system, which includes the heart to pump blood; and the lymphatic system. The latter has no pump, except for the movement of the human body. Activity is the way that the fluid circulates. Besides this, there is a multitude of benefits from “going and playing outside.”
I also remember my mother giving me iodine tablets to take. I always thought that it was because of the era we lived in (fear of a nuclear attack), or because I was born in post-war Japan. Since then, I have research some of the information from the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, who share the impact of parasites, danger of fluoride on health, and recommend simple things like baking soda instead of toothpaste, iodine for teeth and gums, and using a oral water irrigation. Perhaps we need to rethink what we have been taught, and start to look at how the older traditional ways seemed to work.
I have found that studying medical anthropology has improved my understanding of psychology, and medicine because it looks at what worked over many centuries and for thousands of years. It is only recently that we have re-embraced the value of natural honey for health. I have heard critics talk about these things as “new age,” but in fact, they are practices that we have just forgotten for the “newer and shinier approach.” To those who state, “I have not heard of any research to support this,” my response is either learn how to read or read more before you express an opinion.
A Native American saying is “Take only what you need, and leave the earth as you found it.” We have not done this. We all know that we need to improve our attention to health practices. As a civilization, we honestly, and intensely, need to change how we treat the earth and our environment. We need to learn how to find ways of eliminateing toxins from our bodies, and provide better support for nutrients, attending to the absorption through probiotics health, reduced inflammation, and making time to reconnect with nature in a way that is more than just watching the Nature Channel. Don’t wait till you become 60 or older to take these things seriously. If you do, you will miss out on more life, and may not have the health you want, during the senior years.
1 Davis, D. (2004) Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 23, No. 6, 669–682. http://saveoursoils.com/userfiles/downloads/1351255687-Changes%20in%20USDA%20food%20composition%20data%20for%2043%20garden%20crops,%201950-1999.pdf
2 Davis, D. (2009) Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence? HortScience February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/44/1/15.full
3 Samsel, A. & Seneff, S. (2013) Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/
4 Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., Kaplan, Stephen. (2008). The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature. Psychological Science. 19: 1207-1212. http://libra.msra.cn/Publication/6994981/the-cognitive-benefits-of-interacting-with-nature
5 Kuo, F. E., Taylor, A. F. (2004) A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health. 94(9): 1580-1586. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1448497/.
6 Ulrich, R. S. (1999). Effects of gardens on health outcomes: Theory and research. In C. Cooper-Marcus & M. Barnes (Eds.), Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations. New York: John Wiley, pp. 27-86.
7 Oschman, J., Chevalier, G. & Brown, R. (2015). The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of Inflammation Research.
8 Ghaly, M. & Teplitz, D. (2004). The Biologic Effects of Grounding the Human Body During Sleep as Measured by Cortisol Levels and Subjective Reporting of Sleep, Pain, and Stress. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 10, Number 5, 2004, pp. 767–776
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Seymour, Missouri 64746
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Rory Fleming Richardson, Ph.D., ABMP, TEP
Clinical Medical/Health Psychologist & Neuropsychologist