Sweet destination

Sweet destination

Watching animals is a calming activity because it stimulates the production of oxytocyne, the attachment hormone.

© Carolyne Parent
Watching animals is a calming activity because it stimulates the production of oxytocyne, the attachment hormone.

At all times – and perhaps today more than ever – Mother Nature is comforting. But why is that?

The Japanese have their shinrin-yoku or “forest bath”. Scandinavians have their Outdoors, a philosophy of life based on the spiritual connection of human beings to nature. Those who go barefoot have theearthing, to connect to terrestrial energy, to its supposedly curative virtues. No doubt, nature wants us well!

Some believe in particular that negative ions, zenitude altitude and oxytocin could be the source of the beneficial effects one feels when one lingers at the edge of a body of water, at the top of a mountain or near animals. As living things react to their environment, knowing the interactions in question makes it possible to make the most of nature by going to the source of well-being. A great program to find a little calm in these distressing times.

Dear ions …

It is in the name of negative ions, apparently very positive for our health, that the granola fiancé encouraged me to practice my tai chi in front of the lake. It made me laugh… except that he was right. According to the Dr Hervé Robert, author ofIonization, health, wetality: the benefits of negative ions (Éditions du Dauphin, 2008), we naturally breathe negative ions in the sea and in the mountains, while the positive ions are emitted by pollution. The former energize us; the second poison us. And it would be on rough seas or at the edge of waterfalls that we inhale the most beneficial ions due to the Lenard effect, a phenomenon studied by the German physicist Philipp Lenard according to which the collision of water droplets produces negatively charged electricity.

Destination… Montmorency Falls (higher, by the way, than those of Niagara). The bottom sector of the park is closed for the season, but the summit trails, including the panoramic staircase, remain accessible. Do we want the sea? Focus on Magdalen Islands, archipelago swept by the wind, creator of waves. Did you know ? Voyages Gendron has concocted packages to the Islands, including air travel with Air Canada.

Drugged O

Did we doubt it? Surrounding ourselves with trees is beneficial to us. A study by two Australian researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2019 and conducted among some 47,000 participants found that those who lived in an environment covered by at least 30% of trees had a risk of psychological distress 31% lower than those whose environment consisted mainly of trees. ‘other plants (shrubs, lawns). In addition, the Japanese have long believed in the immune virtues of certain volatile substances (phytoncides) released by trees.

Destination… the mountain and we camp there. Some Saturdays, until October, you can pitch your tent at the top of the mont Ham. At an altitude of 713 meters, we will look down on the Eastern Townships and take the opportunity to get active on the twenty kilometers of trails that crisscross this Abenaki territory. Highest peak in the Laurentians, the mont Tremblant is for its part streaked with 11 kilometers of trails and in Mont-Tremblant, Domaine Saint-Bernard invites us to explore its 30 kilometers of wooded trails.

The attachment hormone

It was at The Mirage in Las Vegas that I first heard about oxytocin. In a glass room overlooking a pool where dolphins were evolving, I took part in a yoga class. The professor then explained to us that the presence of these marine mammals stimulated in us the production of the hormone called attachment. Responsible for creating emotional bonds, oxytocin is believed to be at the origin of the feeling of appeasement that one feels when observing or stroking animals. Fadaise las vegassienne that all that? Not at all: pet therapy recognizes that animals can provide psychological well-being to patients. The Douglas Mental Health University Institute has been using animal mediation for 35 years.

Destination… the Granby Zoo, who has new residents: Louis and Kuchimba, two gorillas from the West African plains. We will also want to observe these clowns of Japanese macaques and these natural public entertainers that are the wallabies, adorable little kangaroos. Another option is the interpretation farm. In Saint-Eustache, from the nursery to the field, Not’Otruche familiarizes us with the beautiful bird.

Gallery: The most invasive animal species in North America (Espresso)

Much more than simple visitors to foreign lands, invasive species take control of an ecosystem where they have no place. Taking advantage of more favorable conditions than in their natural habitat (absence of predators, milder climate, defenseless prey, etc.), they thrive and disrupt the natural balance, which leads to the extinction of other species. Learn about some of the worst invasive species in North America.


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