Meet Valerie Dearing one of your Hosts for The Art and Science in Wellness, Feb. 4-11, 2017

valeriedearingnasteMeet Valerie Dearing one of the three wise and wonderful women collaborating with Hopewood Holistic Health in The Art and Science in Wellness  Feb. 4-11, 2017 . This Costa Rican Eco-Wellness Adventure will be hosted at Finca Luna Neuva near Fortuna and Lake Arenal with our last night accommodation at the boutique garden paradise, Hotel Bougainvillea.

Valerie is a seasonal Artist in Residence at The Omega Institute of Holistic Health in Rhinebeck, New York and a long term art, yoga and qi gong instructor in Ohio.  She is currently moving her home and base of practice to Vermont, so watch for up coming classes, retreats and workshop in the great NE, you just might find me there as well.

Valerie will share in the adventure while providing exceptional opportunities for introspection, creative movement and expressive creativity. Valerie brings years of yoga, qi gong and art exploration to this retreat.  Her philosophy in yoga and creative art exploration is to promote the wisdom of living incorporating the traditional ancient poses, breathwork, meditation, and stillness with expressive art outlets to nurture your inner voice and to hone your  outer observations. 

Her studentsrisingandfalling share that they enjoy better sleep, focus, strength, balance, posture, flexibility, and deeper relaxation after classes.  Valerie has also trained in therapeutic Qi Gong and Tai Chi for healing post traumatic stress, cancer, depression, knee and back pain, heart problems, arthritis, and MS. Additional certifications include;  Yin Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kundalini.  Her classes nourish physical, mental, and spiritual wellness using gentle stretches, twists, core strengthening, and balance practices. These simple movements and meditations can help enhance the immune system and restore and renew your energy.  Yes, it’s time to take time and I for one look forward to Val’s classes. 

All yoga and mind-body classes, be they with Val, Lura or myself,  are geared toward  mid level skill and experience but are also perfect for those with advanced  skills, those new to yoga or for those who wish to improve their mind/body health by moving slowly and mindfully, delving into creative art or just taking time to be and be well.  

One of the very special gifts Val will  offer  is her Creative Art Expression workshops. She will guide us in the creathealingheartedion of Healing and Nature based Mandalas as a part of our Chakra exploration and will offer other integrated art sessions in Sumi Ink drawing and Solarized Botanical Plates to help us capture the energy and the moment.   Aspects of these art sessions will be integrated into herb and sacred seed walks, farm tour and plant gatherings for herbal preparations and plant spirit meditation.  This is an exceptional chance to play, create, explore  and find yourself through the world of yoga, art, culture and natural beauty.

On a pchurch1ersonal note, it has been such a joy to get to know Valerie through the years.  She trained in Hudson, Ohio, a charming Northeast Ohio town  that is home to the Old Church on the Green and The Spiritual
Life Center also quality acquaintances and yoga friends.   Valerie completed her E-RYT 200 training there and then took off with her interpretation of art, yoga and mindfulness workshops.  I have been honored to have Valerie attend various Hopewood Seasonal Yoga Workshops and have enjoyed meeting her at Angela Farmer and Victor vanKooton workshops in Yellow Springs Ohio… I was thrilled when Val and a great friend, Lynn decided to join me last winter, while I worked at Cotton Tree Lodge in southern Belize for yoga, adventure, tofu, the Cayes and more.    This is your chance to meet Val and share in a transformational, fun and loving adventure in wellness.   For more information and background on Valerie Dearing go to her websites and  For more information on The Arts and Science in Wellness Eco-Retreat contact Rebecca at  We hope to  have the pleasure of seeing you there.



Meet Your Three Wise and Wonderful Hosts for The Art & Science in Wellness Retreat

VUYL7855What a special opportunity to travel, learn and play with these two talented and diverse yogi, holistic healers.  Holistic Journeys is thrilled to team up with Lura Shopteau and Valerie Dearing for our Feb. 4-11, 2017  Eco-wellness Adventure; The Art and Science in Wellness, Costa Rican style!   Oh Yeah…

Well you all know (me) Rebecca and please keep reviewing the web, facebook and Instagram for fun updates about wanders and happenings with Hopewood Holistic Health, but now, allow me to introduce you to two other wise women who you’ll share this special week with as we wander through wellness, art and Costa Rica!

Lura Shopteau M.A., LPC, E-RYT-500, IAYT is the director of  Bienestar Yoga Shala  in Uvita Costa Rica.  Some of you may not know, but E-RYT-500 is one of the the highest designations for a certified yogIMG_0495a teacher. Lura is certified to train other teachers at all levels and as a trained professional counselor (LPC), yoga therapist (IAYT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, she is especially trained to bring her unique and deep skills to her clients and workshops in psychotherapy, yoga, and meditation.   Lura brings her compassion and knowledge as an integrative medical professional to help clients with an array of medical problems. She has taught in a medical school, hospitals, yoga centers, and trained other yoga teachers while maintaining a private practice in holistic counseling.  Another wonderful skill Lura brings to the table is her knowledge in herbs, herbal products and natural cosmetics and skin care.  She will be a perfect complement to our exploration of tropical hydosols and flower essences.

Lura’s goal is to assist others in finding a way to live their lives with peace, courage and grace. She is happy to call Uvita home, being in tune with the natural world, surrounded by it’s beauty and the ever changing dynamic of nature.  Get to know Lura at…
Lura Shopteau    Bienestar Yoga Shala

Valerie Dearing was born into a family of artists, including her grandmother and mother, both painters. Svaleriedearingnastehe studied art at The Rochester Institute of Technology School of Crafts, The Cranbrook Academy of Art, and The University of Michigan. Valerie has taught at several university art departments as well as public and private elementary and middle schools in Maryland. She has also taught art to children in Mexico and India. Currently she is teaching spiritual art classes at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck New York during the summer of 2016 such as “Painting the Chakras”,”Making Mandalas”, “Sumi Ink Painting” and “Nature as Art.”

Valerie is an ERYT-200 hr yogi and has valeringmandala trained in therapeutic Qi Gong and Tai Chi for healing post traumatic stress, cancer, depression, knee and back pain, heart problems, arthritis, and MS. She is certified in the Yin Yoga, Laughter Yoga, and Iyengar Yoga styles. Her classes nourish physical, mental, and spiritual wellness using gentle stretches, twists, core strengthening, and balance practices. These simple movements and meditations can help enhance the immune system and restore and renew your energy.  Along with yoga sharing yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi, Val is going to lead us in amazing Creative Art Explorations of Charaka understanding, Sumi Ink drawing, Mandalas, Solarized Botanical Prints and who knows what else she has up her sleeve… or should I say in her paint box…..For more info on Val contact her by phone or email   Telephone 330.397.1250  email  at  

There is always more, but for now I will leave you wondering about how to sign up!  Rest assured we are looking forward to spending the week with you.  

Early Bird Price of   $1,475.00-1,575.00   based on double or triple occupancy.  A $300.00 non-refundable deposit is due by Nov. 1st . Pay in full upon registration, save $100!  $100.00 sir charge applies after Nov. 1st Round trip air, tips and gratuities not included. We encourage you to have you own international travel & health coverage. 

For more Info or to Register Contact  Rebecca Wood, Hopewood Holistic Health  740-590-3954

Lura Shopteau, Bienstar Yoga Shala    506-8505-1369

Valerie Dearing, Yoga & Art    330-397-1250


Yoga classes in Belize by Rebecca Wood
Yoga classes in Belize by Rebecca Wood and Valerie Dearing 2016

 What are you waiting for,   It’s Time to Take Time

New International Eco-Journeys for 2017, It’s Time to Take Time

Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize
Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize

Eco-wellness wanders with Rebecca!  Wow it’s time to start planning for two amazing Holistic Journeys  this upcoming winter.  Hopewood Holistic Health is teaming up with two Wise  and Wild Women this winter to offer, The Art and Science in Wellness Feb. 4-11, 2017.  Join me, Lura Shopteau, Yogi and Integrative Medicine Practitioner and director of Bienstar Yoga Shala in Uvita Costa Rica along with Valerie Dearing, Yogi and Omega Inst. Artist in Resident, founder of Valerie Dearing Yoga, for a truly special 8 day/7 night  eco-wellness adventure.  The tropical paradise of Costa Rica will set the stage for this exploration of wellness, nature and art , all designed to nurture your heart, your mind your soul.  

Your trip begins with transportation from the San Jose International Airport to the sustainable bio-dynamic eco-lodge, Finca Luna Nueva near Volcano Arenal.  We will spend 6 nights here, exploring the grounds through Farm, Sacred Seed, Waterfall tours and night hikes.  While at Finca Luna, we will explore tropical plants and food as medicine through healthful, ‘localvore’ meals, workshops on Tropical Medicine, Flower Essences and Hydrosols!   You are guaranteed to have fun and deepen your understanding of Pan American and Tropical herbs, their healing possibility, scared foods (chocolate) and the history of Sacred Seeds.BodyMindSpirit.jpg

Every morning, Lura, Val or I will offer an opportunity to explore various Yoga and Qi Gong techniques. This is a chance to test the waters with something new or delve deeper into your existing practice.  We will offer Yin, Kundalini, Hatha Flow, Iyengar, Partner and MRF (Myofascial Release) selfcare classes integrated with Qi Gong breath and flow.  You can schedule  privates in yoga, Qi gong or MFR if you wish to deepen  your skill or forestmed11have personal needs and questions.   Lura, Val and I will also be sharing  afternoon or evening sessions in meditation, art exploration and Chakra  Awareness & Balancing.  All workshops and classes are open to participants and scheduled around various eco-tours to ensure you experience as much as there is to offer, but know, you can join in or just take time for yourself  as this is your chance to let go, relax and be present in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

We will transfer on the morning of our seventh day to the boutique accommodations of Hotel Bougainvillea.   This will give us a chance to reflect, rest, relax and enjoy the shear beauty of Bougainvillea’s grounds, gardens and pool.  The hotel is situated a convenient 20 minutes from the International airport so your last day shuttle will be worry free.  We will enjoy one last eco-adventure along our three hour journey to Hotel Bougainvillea so you can experience one more tropical delight that the tiny county called the Cost of Riches has to offer, but your have to be there to know what it is.   This experience is all inclusive once you IMG_1361arrive in county at the San Jose International Airport, all for the Amazing Price of   $1,475.00-1,575.00   based on double or triple occupancy.  A $300.00 non-refundable deposit due by Nov. 1st . Pay in full upon registration, save $100!, you can’t beat that.  A sir charge of $100.00 applies after Nov. 1st . Round trip air, tips and gratuities not included and we request you have your own international travel & health coverage. 

For Information or to register Contact  Rebecca Wood  at 740-590-3954 or or and on facebook/hopewoodhealth!

For more specific information on teachers and programs contact Lura Shopteau at  506-8505-1369 or and Valerie Dearing at 330-397-1250 or   Find and follow us on facebook and instagram for updates, pictures and specials!  Once you register a full daily itinerary will be sent to you.


For our second Central American Adventure of 2017 Rebecca and Hopewood Holistic Health is thrilled to join the incredible offerings of Arts and Cultural Travel for an UnBelizable experience Belize; Through the Lens and Beyond!  Join  me and Botanist, Herbalist, Author, Photographer Steven Foster and special guest Herbalist, Author Dr. Rostia Arvigo Feb 12-19  2017 (yes, I am a busy gal this winter, but how lucky am I.  As Rumi said “Travel brings power back into your life” ).  Steven and I will share our love of tropical plants, nature, birds, Mayan history & culture from the Rain-forests of the Cayo District to the Reefs of Southwater Caye.

The backdrop for the first five days of this Eco-Botanical & Photography Adventure  extraordinaire is the lovely DuPlooy’s Rain-forest Lodge.   Explore the surrounding grounds of The Belize Botanical gardens and hikes and tours of neighboring Eco-Resort, Chaa Creek.   Daily field sessions and adventures with Steven will sharpen your photographic skills, be it with camera or I-phone, helping you to capture the beauty of plants, nature or landscapes.  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer…in Steven’s words “You do not need sophisticated, expensive equipment to take great photographs. It’s more about understanding simple concepts – lighting, being in the right place at the right time, and patience. I will show you have to get great photographs with whatever camera you own.”  Steven is an old, dear friend and herbal mentor, I know your will love spending time with him as much as I do.  All workshops and  adventure outings are designed to capture the culture, botany and exquisite natural beauty of Belize and a glimpse of neighboring Guatemala.  Tours include; Barton Creek Cave canoe tour, Mayan archaeological sites in Belize and Guatemala and the inland Blue Hole.

Sunset SW Caye
Sunset SW Caye

Ahh, but, we aren’t done yet.  You will spend your last two nights on Southwater Caye, one of the most pristine cayes on Belize’s Barrier Reef.  Listen to the waves lap the shore under you cabana, tour the surrounding cayes and reefs by boat and kayak and for be sure  to just take time to sit, ponder, wonder and wander…..

Pricing for this trip is just about done, it is all dependent upon the numbers of participants minimum 6 max 15  but we are looking at $2,700-3,200. So, if Photography, Herbs, Wellness, History and or Culture are your interest, grab a friend and sigh up now!    It’s an amazing opportunity to travel, explore and learn form the talented, skilled  and fun hosts.  Let us and our local expert guides will share our love of Belize’s Botanical, Natural and Cultural secrets.  This is all inclusive adventure once you are picked up at the Belize International Airport and you’ll love the flight back from Dangriga  to the airport mid morning of your last day, making for a spectacular and EZ transition  from Belize to home.

To register or get more information  on pricing and workshops or tours please contact  For more general questions or to get to know your hosts check out or hey, me Rebecca at

Stay tuned for more information on any of these tours and follow us on facebook, instagram and our individual web sites. 


Giving Thanks and Looking Ahead: Winter 2016 with Rebecca in Central America

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined! There is still time to join us this year for any part of the journey, or follow along on the blog and Facebook to keep track of the adventure.

We will start our journey in the peaceful mountain town of Orosi, Costa Rica. There we will work with Montaña Linda Language School and Guest House. The list of amazing things to do while in this quiet, off-the-beaten path pueblo are endless. Enjoy the cowboy atmosphere, tour coffee plantations, relax in the local hot springs, hike the mountain to Nano’s waterfall, AND take advantage of the wonderful Spanish language courses offered by Montaña Linda.

Photo by Montana Linda

We leave Orosi and pause for a not-to-be-missed walk about of Lankester Botanical Gardens, on our way to the southern beach town of Uvita. In Uvita we will stay at the Flutterby Hostel and Guest House and collaborate with Lura Shapteau of Bienestar Uvita Yoga Shala. (Bienestar is the Spanish work for wellness.) We look forward to this new partnership and opportunities for sustainable yoga wellness.

Bienestar Uvita Yoga Shala
Photo by Bienestar Uvita Yoga Shala

A side trip on this year’s Costa Rica adventure will take us into Nicaragua to explore this developing eco-wellness destination in search of future possibilities for work/trade and travel. In Granada, Nicaragua we will be visiting Casa Lucia Boutique Hotel and Pure Gym, Spa and Yoga.

Pure Yoga Gym Spa
Photo by Pure in Granada Nicaragua

Why not explore your passions? Options are easy and endless. Throughout every Holistic Journey’s eco-wellness adventure are ample opportunities to explore sustainable food and herbs, culture and music, as well as birds and nature’s beauty.  One of our major collaborators of the last ten years is Sunny Costa Rica Travel / Tropical Feathers, offering fantastic birding and natural history experiences. See below for a guided tour of birding hot-spots in Costa Rica


The second half of our wellness adventure will take place in sunny Belize. We will be joining Cotton Tree Lodge again this year for another fabulous winter season of tours (explore reefs, jungle, archaeological sites and more!), yoga, exceptional gourmet meals, and quality hammock time.

A unique and peaceful lodging experience on the Mopan River. Photo by Cotton Tree Lodge

We are so grateful for the opportunity to return again to this wonderfully diverse and magical part of the planet to spend time with friends old and new. Each year the experience becomes more rich and eye-opening. Our network of partners is growing every season. Future trips may include adventures in Panama, Cuba and Greece. Be and Be Well!


The Journey is the Destination

As with any practice, adventure or new experience, the ‘journey is the distenation .  Quite true if we are embracing the practice of being fully present!  Is there a true end? Yes, no, maybe?  I like achieving goals and if we never set one do we end up where we want.  If we do set one and achieve it the bends in the road often take us in a different direction, a totally new end that wasn’t in sight becomes a ‘distention untold’.

Traveling, trading, jumping in with both feet while living in different countries is often like that.  New people on their own adventures come your way.  They share their story, a bit of their life, where they are going and it adds color to the pallet of  your life mural.  Your practice (yoga, meditation, etc.  falls off a bit as you fit into a new scene, but as you meander back your body and experiences open new possibilities or learning moments (pain, insight) to

Yin Yoga Central American Style

yoga, yin, culture, wellness

Explore the benefits of Yin  and Inquiry based Yoga, learn to let go and flow into your body. This winter Rebecca will be sharing her love of Yin and Inquiry Yoga with her friends in Orosi, Costa Rica, The Yucatan and Belize. This is a   new project to break boundaries and language through yoga and play! Stay tuned and join in the fun.

Easy is Right

by Chuang Tzu  from the Tao; State and the Art by Osho

Easy is right. Begin right and you are easy.

Continue easy, and you are right.

The right way to go easy is to forget  the right way and forget that the going is easy.

So what is Yin and Inquiry Based Yoga?  Yin Yoga was brought to the forefront as a yoga practice by Paul Grilley and carried further by teachers like Biff Mithoefer, Cheri Clampett and Sarah Powers. Originating from a martial arts practice and Taoist philosophy, Yin Yoga embraces the cool or more feminine side of yoga; punctuating the importance of balance, acceptance, patience and observation. It activates the 6 large meridians that flow through the trunk of the body and down the extremities o the legs, activating  acupressure points and the flow of energy throughout. According to the Tao, balance can only truly exist between the boundaries of Yin and Yang,but it seems to be a perfect compliment to our busy western or modern attitude and life and  more so how many styles of modern, western yoga have embedded our, busy, pushy nature into the our interpretation and practice of  of yoga, creating a mostly forceful, competitive Yang (and dare I say, adolescent)  practice. Many have lost sight of how a  gentle approach may release physical and emotional traumas and dis ease through understanding,   acceptance and supporting our bodies innate ability to heal itself.  While there may be a function and a place for any and all yoga, Yin seems to be a more natural exploration, honoring the body where it i,s at any age, any ability or disability and seeks to encourage equanimity, healing and enhanced awareness within and out.

I was led to Yin through my search for a new approach to yoga and to heal some back injuries and work frustrations     My serious practice evolved in my early days from Iyengar and a more forceful practice. I then found or embraced Restorative through Judith Lasater, Un-Yoga Teacher Training’s with Victor and Angela (this not only changed my life but my relationship to my body). I still attend workshops with them when ever I am able or they are in country) and I have explored and appreciate workshops with  Doug Keller and Mukunda Stiles Structural and Therapeutic Practices. I eventually found  Don and Amba Stapleton, now of  Nosara Yoga and Biff Mithoefer and the practice of Inquiry and Yin Yoga.

I know my past yoga kept we walking after some serious and chronic injuries, but finding Don and Amba  and Yin through Biff, solidified the my practice and approach to life.  They complimented many of my prior teachers, especially Victor and Angela and with the techniques of Inquiry and Pranassage changed my body’s response to old issues.   It also changed my attitude and outlook.

Today I take these skills and techniques (coupled with new training in myofasical release) to my clients, students and in my self care practice in what I have developed as Integrated Body Alignment (IBA).  Flowing with your body, giving the tissues time to unwind, let go, heal is following the watercourse way.  There may be a periodic flood or tumoultous waterfall, but eventually the river finds its’ banks and continues it’s jouney. I love this metaphor, as I was a raft guide and fairly skilled OC-1 white water boater.  Really, you can’t fight the river, you have to flow with it to enjoy the ride.  I encorage you to find a practice, keep a practice, share a practice, but a kind and observant practice, one with joy, laughter and  challengees.  Make this paractice your watercourse way.   I wish you all the blessings of self exploration of an exciting, adventoursom and caring ride!   Really, Go With the Flow…Namaste’  Rebecca

Tropical Allies For Your Home and Landscape

Power Point for A More Sustainable Home

Create a Healthy Home or Office with Tropical Ornamentals

Choose these Tropical Allies to Purify Your In-door Environment

Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.

Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) The red edges of this easy dracaena bring a pop of color, and the shrub can grow to reach your ceiling. This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.

Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. (Bonus: Golden pothos, also know as devil’s ivy, stays green even when kept in the dark.)

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.

Aloe (Aloe vera) This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny kitchen window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.

Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzeneand trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.

Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium This climbing vine plant isn’t a good option if you have kids or pets — it’s toxic when eaten, but it’s a workhorse for removing all kinds ofVOCs. Philodendrons are particularly good at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzeneand trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.

Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’) Combat pollutants associated with varnishes and oils with this dracaena. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. With striped leaves forming clusters atop a thin stem, this houseplant can be striking, especially if it reaches its potential height of 12 feet.

Resources taken from (mother natures network)




by Deborah L. Brown  Extension Horticulturist

Our space program has led the way to a fascinating and important discovery about the role of houseplants indoors. NASA has been researching methods of cleansing the atmosphere in future space stations to keep them fit for human habitation over extended periods of time. They’ve found that many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight pollution indoors. They’re reportedly able to scrub significant amounts of harmful gases out of the air, through the everyday processes of photosynthesis. Some pollutants are also absorbed and rendered harmless in the soil.

Plant physiologists already knew that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Now researchers have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, as well.

Chances are, all houseplants are beneficial in this regard, at least to a certain degree, though they haven’t all been tested. Of those tested, not all have proven equally efficient cleaners. Nor can we assume all harmful pollutants can be removed in this manner.

Some houseplants are better at removing formaldehyde from the air, while others do a better job on benzene; none is much help when it comes to tobacco smoke. But there are enough known plants that do a good job of removing pollutants from the air we breathe to cause us to view houseplants as more than just an attractive feature in decorating the interior environment.

These are three of the worst offenders found in relatively new homes and offices. Newer buildings are constructed largely with man-made building materials and furnished with synthetic carpeting, fabrics, laminated counters, plastic coated wallpaper, and other materials known to “off-gas” pollutants into the interior environment.

The advent of the “energy crisis” a number of years back has increased the problems associated with indoor pollutants. Newly constructed buildings are better insulated and sealed tightly to conserve heat or air-conditioning. While it does save both money and energy, this new found efficiency has its downside in that pollutants may be trapped indoors and have less opportunity to dissipate to the outside. The phrase coined to describe this unfortunate result is “sick building syndrome.”

If your home is old enough to be leaky and drafty, you may not need to worry about “sick-building syndrome.” But if you live in a newer, energy-efficient home with windows and doors tightly sealed, or you work in a building where the air feels stale and circulation seems poor, the liberal use of houseplants seems like an easy way to help make a dent in the problem.

NASA scientists studied nineteen different plant species for two years. Of the specimens studied, only two were primarily flowering plants; chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies. Though commonly used to bring a touch of color indoors, particularly for holidays and special occasions, these plants are generally not kept indoors very long. After they’re through blooming they’re usually discarded or planted outdoors.

Most of the plants tested are “true” houseplants, kept indoors year-round in our climate, though they may be placed outdoors during warm summer months. One is the common succulent, Aloe vera (now renamed Aloe barbadensis), also known as “medicine plant.” Many people already have one in a bright kitchen window because of the soothing, healing properties its viscous inner tissue has on burns, bites and skin irritations.

Most of the plants listed below evolved in tropical or sub-tropical forests, where they received light filtered through the branches of taller trees. Because of this, their leaf composition allows them to photosynthesize efficiently under relatively low light conditions, which in turn allows them to process gasses in the air efficiently.

Soil and roots were also found to play an important role in removing air-borne pollutants. Micro-organisms in the soil become more adept at using trace amounts of these materials as a food source, as they were exposed to them for longer periods of time. Their effectiveness is increased if lower leaves that cover the soil surface are removed, so there is as much soil contact with the air as possible. Best results were obtained with small fans that pulled air through a charcoal filter in the soil, cleaning more than foliage could alone or in combination with a “passive” pot of soil. Even without the fan and filter, however, houseplants did remove trace pollutants from the air.

The NASA studies generated the recommendation that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house. The more vigorously they grow, the better job they’ll do for you.

With the exception of dwarf banana, a fairly unusual plant in this area, the bulk of the list of plants NASA tested reads like a “Who’s Who” of the interior plant world. They are:

  •  Ficus benjamina (Weeping fig)
  •   Hedera helix English ivy
  • Chlorophytum comosum spider plant
  • Epipiremnum aureum golden pothos
  • Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’ peace lily
  • Aglaonema modestum Chinese evergreen
  • Chamaedorea sefritzii bamboo or reed palm
  • Sansevieria trifasciata snake plant
  • Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’ heartleaf philodendron
  • Philodendron selloum selloum philodendron
  • Philodendron domesticum elephant ear philodendron
  • Dracaena marginata red-edged dracaena
  • Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’ cornstalk dracaena
  •  Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig’ Janet Craig dracaena
  • Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii’ Warneck dracaena
  • Ficus benjamina weeping fig

(Information taken from the NASA report Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, September 1989, by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Anne Johnson, and Keith Bounds, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, John C. Stennis Space Center, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000.)

H110I Reviewed 1/99


Breaking Boundaries through Nourishing Traditions in Food and Culture!

Hopewood Holistic Health & The Center for Food and Culture of Bowling Green Ohio brings your this Eco-Culinary and Garden Experience in Belize.  The Food and Culture Center’s main goal is to nourish connections people make to food, through food and the implications these connections have for our communities, environment, and quality of life.  What a better way to understand ourselves and others than tour their country and  experience their stories through their food, herbs and gardens.

During this journey, Doctor Lucy Long a professor in Eco-tourism and Foodways at Bowling Green University and Rebecca Wood of Hopewood Holistic Health will share their love of food, it’s nourishing tradition, ethnobotancial uses and foodways as we tour the country of Belize this winter. We invite you to join us as we discover the Maya secrets of copal resin in healing, the role of rue for medicine and magic and how red roses or hollyhocks might stop blood flow. Taste the spices of the Creole, Garifuna, East Indian and Maya in their traditional dishes with (garnochos, tamales, hudnut, serre, recado, fy jacks or dukuna) and share their history, stories, fears and dreams.

We’ll walk among the tropical gardens, milpas, monocultures and polycultures then discuss first hand, the pro’s, con’s and concerns of present and past farming techniques with the farmers and families that tend them. You’ll taste cocoa from the pod, sucking the sweet white pulp from your fingers before you bite into the bitter chocolate of the bean. We’ll pondering the trade routes and traditions of chocolate; the maya ‘drink of the gods’ and why the beans, once a currency for trade is now a major part of international trade and industry.

Each morning we’ll wake up to the many colorful birds of the tropics, the aroma of coffee and then discuss our days adventure as we sip our morning brew with a tipico breakfast of tropical fruits, gallo pinto and plantain. We will tour the shade grown coffee coppices, so important in trade and livelihood of Belizeans and indigenous throughout the world and see and hear about impacts and consequences of our love affair with coffee and chocolate and why is the concept of fair trade, worker owned, value added is so important to their lives of many. Or, we might find ourselves floating down a lazy jungle river, comparing the beauty the land use and the importance of water and water ways, both here and at home.

We will tantalize our taste buds with a plates of’ beans and rice’, ‘rice and beans’ or your choice ‘stew beans and rice’ with the obligatory dash of Marie Sharp’s many hot and exotic sauces and then try to count the multitude of ways to prepare and savor plantain (a banana relative), coconut and the many regional specialties.

We are bound to have more than one version of a Belizean Boil up; a dinner of corn, beans and pumpkin (squash) or cassava tubers and yams with hand made tortillas (made from you) on the comal. The variation will never bore you as the roots, spices and choice of fish or poultry (for the non vegetarians) vary with each culture and tradition.

Each day we will discover the importance and necessity of food , how it’s planted, harvested, prepared and the stories, prayers and cycles of the moon that dictates these long traditions. We will experience the diversity of the tropics, taste the sweet juice of fresh squeezed cane and see why some farmers grow the many flora just because they are muy bonita as my friend Don Saul says, “The flowers, they are so beautiful, they just make you feel better when you work so hard”.

A special part of our adventure, as always, is daily opportunities to slow down, with gentle yoga, qi-gong or nature meditation. The exploration of art, music, dance and craft unique to each culture in Belize will also give us pause. Rachel Clark another Holistic Journey guide will help you integrate all of these experiences through her Getting Closer to Nature sessions. These optional sessions are open to anyone and will entice you to tap into your inner artist and create your personal journal of your adventure.

I can guarantee you will enjoy the company and culture of those who will tell their tales and share their lives with us throughout this journey. We will nourish ourselves through food, art, music but also by expanding our insights into others as we learn what brings people of all cultures to the table and how breaking bread or folding tortillas helps bridge the culture gap through commonality, laughter and life’s stories. It’s time to take time. For a better world and a journey you won’t forget contact Rebecca Wood for more information on the Dec. 10-20 or Feb 18-28 trips. or check us out at or