When Quiverfull Makes Up Medical Advice: Forest Bathing

When Quiverfull Makes Up Medical Advice: Forest Bathing July 1, 2020

Screencap from No Greater Joy

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when we get one of the roughly six issues a year of Debi and Michael Pearl’s magazine No Greater Joy. Last issue was three short articles and this month’s is a gut busting eight articles, most of which are said to be created by Michael Pearl. That on again off again patriarch.

There’s an article begging for funds to buy Facebook ad space for Michael’s IMissionaries organization for India. It’s the first time I bothered to look at the donation appeals and the calendar pages they publish each month. I was completely unaware that the calendar pages themselves have little stories they promote, and then I stumbled across this one about “Forest Bathing” or as the Japanese call it “Shinrin-Yoku”.

Wasn’t this recently called ‘taking a walk in the woods’?

It’s the usual Pearl science misunderstanding and projection, taking slight evidence and extrapolating it out in wildly inflated directions. Which makes me think this was written by Debi since it’s exactly like her horrid book on neuroplasticity. She takes a little science, and stretches it out to something it is not.

“Do you want to boost all parts of your immune system? Scientific research says take a walk in the forest. Amazing as it sounds, research has proven this is a scientific reality due to the release of essential oils from the trees. In a recent research project, four different events involving different protocols but the same blood testing were completed.”

No one disputes that walking in the forest can lower your blood pressure, elevate your mood, lower anxiety and heart rate.  The movement alone is physically and mentally beneficial, particularly if you spent hours a day behind a desk in a cube farm. Just the change of scenery might be enough. There’s a lot of established science to back this. But this is no different than a lot of things like this, walking on the beach does the same thing, so do many other activities that one can do in peaceful natural settings. This isn’t rocket science!

But sprinkled with true science is a lot of falsehoods going on. Those ‘essential oils’ Debi is speaking about here were only listed in one article, and it spoke of the release of natural oils from pine trees, that’s it. Like you know, those refreshing pine scents you smell walking through a stand of pine trees? Not those wholesale willy nilly essential oils so many in this sub culture promote.

The claims of immunio boosting are iffy at best, and the reams of research I spent yesterday evening reading through indicated no studies I could find where they did blood draws and testing. Blood pressure tests, yes and heart rate.

“On the first day, one group of test subjects had their blood drawn and tested. Then they were driven out to a forest area and taken on a walk. That evening all the test subjects stayed in a motel close to the forest area. The next morning their blood was drawn and tested again before they went on their morning walk and then again for an afternoon walk. The final morning before they left for their homes their blood was drawn again and tested. A week later their blood was tested again. There were three other similar research events using groups of subjects that visited in the city as well as in the forest. Every test subject that took forest walks had a marked spike in all points of their immune system and the heightened immune response was still evident in their blood after a full week. The city walkers had little to no boost in their immune systems.

The moral of the research: Take a walk in the woods, once a week.”

Did you catch that? The Pearl mythology that living in a city is bad, bad, bad! That is one of their most enduring yet poorly sourced beliefs. Every city I have lived in, large or small, has had parks. I’ve always partaken in walking in those same parks, and always felt ‘better’ immediately. I think it’s likely from the research I’ve seen that the same benefits they are touting on forest walks also transfer to being the park. In fact, it has been studied and came to the same conclusions. This is just more of their urban bashing agenda, and pulling things out of thin air again.

If you make scientific claims you must source them. But in the Pearl World you just make up what you assume from the small amount of research you do and jump to all sorts of conclusions before passing your ideas on to your clueless isolated masses.

Why is it that their version of God is such a weak, substandard, powerless being that they constantly have to make stuff up to shore Him up?

What frightens me about Pearl medical advice is I am sure there will be someone out there suffering from a chemical imbalance, or a serious medical condition who will use these words to try and heal themselves when it’s beyond obvious they need a real doctor.

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