Images TURAS & Aleksandar Veljković www.rustikatravel.com
Did you know that sitting around a campfire has proven health benefits?
I’m sure those of you who regularly enjoy a campfire fire already knew about its positive effects, right?
The following research was carried out some years ago by the University of Alabama in a study called ‘Hearth and campfire influences on arterial blood pressure: defraying the costs of the social brain through fireside relaxation’, and it came up with some very interesting findings. The research concluded that sitting by the campfire has a number of health benefits that include reducing blood pressure.
The very interesting piece of research highlighted that ‘’the importance of fire in human evolutionary history is widely acknowledged but the extent not fully explored’’. Fires involve flickering light, crackling sounds, warmth, and a distinctive smell. For early humans, fire likely extended the day, provided heat, helped with hunting, warded off predators and insects, illuminated dark places, and facilitated cooking.
It is also believed that campfires also may have provided social nexus and relaxation effects that could have enhanced prosocial behaviour.
According to this hypothesis, “calmer, more tolerant people would have benefited in the social milieu via fireside interactions relative to individuals less susceptible to relaxation response.
In using a randomised crossover design that disaggregated fire’s sensory properties, pre-post test blood pressure measures were compared among 226 adults across three studies with respect to viewing simulated muted-fire, fire-with-sound, and control conditions, in addition to tests for interactions with hypnotizability, absorption, and prosociality.
Results indicated consistent blood pressure decreases in the fire-with-sound condition, particularly with a longer duration of stimulus, and enhancing effects of absorption and prosociality.
Findings confirm that hearth and campfires induce relaxation as part of a multisensory, absorptive, and social experience.
Enhancements to relaxation capacities in the human social brain likely took place via feedback involving these and other variables”. As interesting as this is, for us it really just confirms what we kind of already knew.
There is no doubt about it that sitting around a campfire after a day’s touring while enjoying your favourite beverage is one of the most relaxing things you can do.
Unfortunately, it is now becoming harder to find places where you are allowed to have an open fire but this issue can be overcome by simply using a portable fire pit that can be used to cook up your favourite camp feast but also allows you to sit around it while keeping warm – without breaking any laws.