October 24, 2008

October 24th, 2008 – Dr. Jules Pretty, at the Center for Environment and Society in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex, in England makes a strong case for “being in nature”. “Irrespective of where we come from in the world, it seems that the presence of living things makes us feel good. There are three levels of engagement with nature.

*The first is viewing nature, as through a window, or in a book, on television or in a painting.

*The second is being in the presence of nearby nature, which is incidental to some other activity, such as walking or cycling to work, or reading on a garden seat, and (we’ve added this one) soaking in a hot tub outdoors.

*The third level is active participation and involvement with nature, such as gardening, hiking or running.

There is now strong evidence that all these levels deliver mental health benefits. The levels with the most involvement deliver the most benefits.

A recent survey of Olympic Hot Tub Company’s Hot Spring Spa owners echoed Dr. Pretty’s research most strongly in regards to his second point of engagement with nature. All of the Hot Spring Spa owners surveyed reported immense pleasure, increased mental relaxation and peace of mind from soaking in their hot tubs outside. They all said that being in the presence of nature was the “frosting on the cake”, the “cherry on the sundae” that capped the experience and took it from the mundane to the sublime. It was the reason they rarely missed a night’s soaking. It was the reason why their own yards gained a bigger place in their lives. Outside soaking opened up a new appreciation of the previously unseen natural world. People mentioned owls, squirrels, raccoons, the wind, stars, the trees and far vistas. So in addition to the great physiological benefits, the mental/spiritual benefits were the most deeply moving.


From my own experience, I, too, have been profoundly moved by soaking in my roof top Hot Spring while viewing the stars and satellites (!), feeling the wind and the rain on my face and just letting go of all daily cares and worries. Plus I get my best ideas in the hot tub!

Res est severa voluptas-Pleasure is a serious business.