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Is a return to nature a piece of the health puzzle?

In 1896, a German bookseller and self-educated man named Adolf Just founded the Jungborn sanatorium to promote a natural healing approach based on the effects of sunlight, food, water, air, plants, and the earth. In this outpost of civilization, people from all walks of life would make a “return to nature” to recover health, getting as much sunlight as possible, eating fresh and unprocessed food, walking barefooted on wet lawns, and sleeping on the bare ground in light-frame dwellings [1]. According to Just, humans had developed chronic diseases because they had been out of touch with nature for too long, living in cities and houses and using technologies that had not been designed for the human body. Words of reported health benefits spread fast and even Franz Kafka spent several weeks at Jungborn for a much needed break.

by Jan Martel and David M. Ojcius

While it is hard to evaluate health claims promoted at Junghorn back then, everybody can attest to the beneficial effects of a day at the beach. This will be quickly attributed to reduced stress, being away from the office, or a boost of vitamin D. However, it is reasonable to ask the question: could being in direct contact with the ground and far away from electromagnetic pollution also contribute to this wonderful feeling we all have at the beach? Some studies indicate that getting in direct contact with the ground, after removing shoes and avoiding non-conductive materials such as asphalt, rubber, and plastic, can produce some health benefits.

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