Dr. Larry Dossey, Former Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital reports in the
Huffington Post that Dr. Chris Lowry and his colleagues at the University of Bristol and University College London "exposed lung cancer patients to a common, inoffensive microbe called Mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil. The patients unexpectedly reported increases in their quality of life, including a brighter mood. The researchers wondered if this effect was caused by stimulation of neurons in the patients' brains that produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical."
So then there were laboratory trials "The bacteria had the exact same effect as antidepressant drugs," Dr. Lowry said. (Read more here.)
Why not just do gardening to get the Prozac effect? The scientists asked the same question.
What followed is the "hygiene hypothesis" that being exposed to dirt's natural bacteria, fungi and viruses strengthens human immune systems. That way the immune system can ignore pet dander, pollen, dust etc. and fight allergies and infections.
Dossey goes on to write, "Nature deficiency disorder has been proposed as a term for the problems we create when we build a wall between the natural world and ourselves. I am highly susceptible to this malady. When I spend too much time indoors, I become increasingly moody and morose. There's only one cure: take a hike, go camping, or root around in my veggie garden. These activities are more than a hobby; they have become an essential part of my life and an important element in my personal health plan."
Me, too. How about you?