Are there health benefits of sitting next to a fire? I know from experience that it feels good, the warmth on a body, which we often do use for healing injuries. Warmth is often about connection with another human, can a fire mimic that? Let's dig in.
There is definitely a trance-like effect when you sit and stare at a fire. Would you consider that similar to meditation? It empties the mind, allowing one to switch off and relax. Could it have a similar impact to the body? It sure does have a relaxing effect on the body, which is a positive in this day when so many suffer from anxiety and stress.
Scientists have found that enjoying an open fire reduces blood pressure. Brain scans have shown that when scientists emulated flames and the noise of a fire in a lab, it still reduced blood pressure. Mind over matter?
Some studies have linked the benefits to evolutionary reasons. Fire was a means of survival. We cooked over it, it provided light and heat. It warded off predators and insects and still does so today.
So who cares why fire is good and healthy? Those of us who find ourselves standing next to a roaring fire understand and know how great it feels and will continue to enjoy it.