Domestic Disturbances: On Tree Therapy

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Tree-climbing is dangerously good for you. –Lily K. Morris

What is Tree Therapy?

Tree Therapy is a powerful non-prescription curative used to:

  • Reduce the risk of feeling old associated with aging.
  • Treat the indefinable sense that something is just not right.
  • Put joy back within everyday reach.

It is known that Tree Therapy is safe and effective for children.  

Who should not use Tree Therapy?

Do not use Tree Therapy if you have acrophobia (fear of heights), dendrophobia (fear of trees), or hedonophobia (fear of feeling pleasure). Ask a small child if you are not sure.

How should I use Tree Therapy?

Choose a beech tree with branches low enough to climb onto from the ground, as far from houses and roads as possible. Admire its swooping, soaring limbs, perfect leaves, and smooth gray bark. Climb upward, keeping at least one hand and one foot securely anchored to a branch at all times. When you’ve gone as high as you comfortably can, straddle a limb and rest your back against it or another limb, keeping a foot or two on a lower branch, if possible. Arrange your body so that you feel secure enough to let go of any unnecessary muscle tension, a bit at a time, including your jaw. Feel your back softening against the tree. Do not release all your muscles at once. If there is nowhere for your arms to rest, hook your thumbs into the waist of your pants and let your arms drape.

Close your eyes and tune into the subtle sway of the limbs as they respond to the breeze through the upper branches. Let yourself be held and rocked by the ancient tree spirit, by this tree that lives in harmony with you — breathing in what you breathe out, standing patiently, sheltering you. Sense its deep connection to the underworld through roots that mine the depths for minerals, absorb the soil’s nutrients, exchange news and offer gifts through the connecting web of the soil’s mycelium, unaffected by the weather above, working slowly, slowly over time. Sense the connection to the heavens through the upper leaves and twigs as they reach up, joyfully dancing with the more rapidly changing elements of wind and sun.

See what you notice. Are there birds singing nearby? Do you see the tapestry of textures in shades of gray-green that the lichen makes where it covers the limb? Can you see the ant that is exploring to the far end of each twig and then retracing its steps, even higher up in the tree than you are?  

When you feel full, stretch a little to get your circulation going, and look around to map your return route. Climb slowly downward from limb to limb. From the lowest branch, check out the area below you, and then jump to the ground, letting your knees stay soft to absorb the impact (slide down the trunk if you have problem knees or catapedaphobia — fear of jumping from high and low places). Express your gratitude to the tree in whatever way you wish.

What are the possible side effects of Tree Therapy?

  • Broken limbs  — yours or the tree’s.
  • Insect bites
  • Inability to continue working at a job you don’t like.