Health Benefits of Nature

How Nature Heals Us

Nature is a self-healing being. When we learn to remember that we are a part of nature and reintegrate our lives into the natural environment, we are healthier and happier. Science can now explain ho nature heals us.

The Health Benefits of Nature

Perhaps we are disconnected from our own nature of empathy because we have become disconnected from nature. The majority of western civilization lives in artificial environments. A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature.

In a study of 20,000 people48, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Two hours was a hard boundary: The study, published last June, showed there were no benefits for people who didn’t meet that threshold.

“It’s well-known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and well-being, but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough,” White says. “Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit.49

These studies have shown that time in nature — as long as people feel safe — is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing. In a recent study, psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients50.

The organization Children & Nature Network, founded by Louv and others, advocates for more time in nature for children, tracks the research, and has a long list of abstracts that summarize studies on the subject on its website.

The number of “forest schools” — which have long been a tradition in Scandinavia and where much of the learning takes place in natural settings in the outdoors — has mushroomed in the United States, up by 500 percent since 2012, according to Louv. Oregon recently passed a ballot measure to raise money for outdoor schools, and the state of Washington just became the first state to license outdoor preschools, where much of the play and learning occurs outside.

The western world is rediscovering through science our lost roots to our true nature, our inner reality, to nature and to relationships with life itself. Especially our relationships with our inner lives. Now science is posed to help us understand that spirituality is also part of nature because we are nature.

The healing benefits of nature has gained increased attention in recent years, as more people are recognizing the importance of taking a holistic approach to health and wellness. By incorporating nature into our daily lives, we can enhance our physical health, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve our overall quality of life.

Natural healing is the concept of using natural surroundings and activities to promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This approach to healing recognizes the importance of the environment in which we live, and the potential benefits of connecting with nature. Whether it's taking a walk in the park, going on a hike, or simply sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air, spending time in nature can have a powerful impact on our health and wellbeing.

Prescribing Nature for Health

The Physiology of Healing in Nature

Therapuetic Interior Landscaping

Therapeutic landscapes are outdoor spaces that are intentionally designed to promote healing and enhance wellbeing. These spaces are typically found in healthcare facilities and are designed to provide patients with access to nature, fresh air, and sunlight, all of which have been shown to have positive impacts on health and wellbeing.

Research has shown that exposure to natural surroundings can reduce stress and anxiety levels, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system, among other benefits. Additionally, there is growing evidence to support the use of plants in hospital settings, as they can help to improve air quality and create a more pleasant and calming environment for patients. For example, one study found that patients in hospital rooms with plants reported lower levels of stress and anxiety, and required less pain medication compared to patients in rooms without plants (Park & Mattson, 2009). Another study found that indoor plants can help to reduce levels of airborne pathogens, which can help to prevent the spread of infections in hospitals (Kapoor & Singh, 2019). Overall, the use of therapeutic landscapes and plants in hospital settings can help to improve patient outcomes and enhance the healing process.

The Healing Power of Forest Bathing

Science of Earthing

Did you know walking barefoot on the earth is good for your health? The science of earthing Earthing, also known as grounding, is the practice of connecting with the Earth's electrical energy by walking barefoot on grass, sand, or soil, or by using grounding mats or sheets indoors.

The science behind earthing is based on the idea that the Earth's surface is negatively charged, while the human body can carry a positive charge due to exposure to electromagnetic radiation from various sources, such as electronic devices. The theory is that by connecting with the Earth's electrical energy, the body can absorb negative electrons, which can help to neutralize positive charges and reduce inflammation in the body.

Research on the benefits of earthing is still in its early stages, but some studies have shown promising results. For example, one study found that grounding can reduce chronic pain and improve sleep quality in participants with fibromyalgia (Chevalier, et al., 2013). Another study found that earthing can improve heart rate variability, which is an indicator of cardiovascular health (Ghaly & Teplitz, 2004). Additionally, some research has suggested that earthing can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are associated with a range of health conditions (Oschman, et al., 2015).

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