Friday, September 2, 2011

walk therapy

A pause in the gazebo by the river
I remember reading about a California-based therapist who would take her clients on hikes during their sessions. The body moving helped the words flowing, she explained. But she also stressed the benefits of the endorphins released from the exercise, and the serenity of nature, soothing the soul.

I was reminded of this when out on one of our walks this week. We've both been down with the cold, and this particular day I felt my spirit heavy too. Lilly suggested a walk; perhaps liking the idea of lounging in the stroller. With my heavy head and runny nose it didn't sound too great of an idea. But off we went.

Walking through the prairie landscape, I felt the muscles of my forehead relaxing. Sure, it was sticky and hot out, but the unfocused activity of walking allowed my thoughts to wander and then somehow settle. I found brain rest. And a sense of perspective.

With the right amount of quiet and talk, walking also makes me feel like a good mom. I like how Lilly sees things, how we point things out to each other. She likes me to pick flowers, rocks, pine cones and leaves for her, and I like to show her how there are different leaves from different trees. How some are changing colors because the season is turning. How some are small and others bigger. At the risk of sounding cheesy; it's pretty amazing to witness a three-year-old making the inference that leaves are different just as people are different.

Returning back in town allows for other ways of therapeutic processing. We went by the pool to see that it really has closed for the season (we thanked it for the fun we had and promised we'd come back). And we stopped by the curve from where she had a great spill on an otherwise lovely day at the market fair by the river.

Even if the sense of tranquility attained from a therapeutic talk is easily disrupted by some thing back at the house, I know I felt it. It's something to hold on to. And that helps me feel more grounded.

Although not new, only a limited number of therapists offer walk and talk therapy. "If yours doesn't, feel free to request it," say experts. But sometimes all it takes is your own self and a companion, big or small.


  1. Love the expression "brain rest" - it´s def a hard one to achieve. Have a nice weekend!

  2. So true! And thanks. And you too!

  3. they say just a little exposure to UV light (like a 20 min. walk) improves/cures some depression...


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