Nature as Medicine
With winter behind us, and the arrival of Spring, now is a great time to get back outside and enjoy the healing benefits of nature. Increasingly, health professionals are including connection with nature as part of patient care plans for both mental and physical health.
In Scotland, the National Health Service Shetland, has had doctors handing over a leaflet listing National Walks as part of their patients treatment for a wide variety of health concerns. This ‘Nature Prescription’ is provided in the form of a leaflet created by the Royal Society of Birds Scotland. It points out simple nature experiences to encourage patients to step outdoors, take a walk, be in gardens and do activities in the outdoor environments which surround us.
As Lauren Peterson, health improvement practitioner for NHS Shetland states, ”Through the 'Nature Prescriptions' project GPs [doctors] and nurses can explain and promote the many benefits which being outdoors can have on physical and mental well-being,”
Since an initial observation by Robert Ulrich back in the 1980s, many studies have found that a connection with the outdoors and nature does show benefits to ones healing, mental health, improved attention, mood, blood pressure and heart rate. Now many programs continue to include outdoor exposure in designing health care strategies and outside environments.
For children, it is instictive to seek and play in outdoor environments, however our modern buildings have not always been conducive to that as children grow and become students in sitting classrooms. Now, not only are well-being teams advising schools to include time in a ‘green space’ for students to decrease sedentary time but one study indicates that outdoor school environments can even balance frustrated student behaviour. Teachers and students are embracing the positive emotional benefits within the outdoor ‘Forest School’ learning environment as compared to conventional indoor school.
"Studies have shown that within 15 minutes of being in nature, your stress level goes down, your heart rate, blood pressure improves," said Dr. Nooshin Razani, a pediatrician and nature researcher with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, in a previous report.
As we grow to understand and experience the restorative effects that nature has on our health and wellbeing, it appears more obvious to us. We find with little effort you can benefit daily from the Earths healing energy. Add Earthing into any outdoor activity for an extra health boost and experience the many health benefits of Grounding.
Earthing, or grounding, can deliver numerous health benefits including:
- Reduction of inflammation
- Reduction or elimination of pain
- Improved sleep - deeper and more refreshing
- Reduced stress, anxiety or irritability
- Improved energy levels
- Improved immune function
- Improved digestion
- Rapid healing of injuries
- Improved blood circulation, blood pressure and thinner blood
- Harmonisation and stabilisation of the body's basic biological rhythms
- Accelerated recovery from athletic activity
- Relief from muscle tension and headaches
- Snoring ceases or is reduced
- Reduce or eliminate jet lag
- Less hormonal and menstrual symptoms
- Reduced electro sensitivity
- Protects the body against potentially harmful biological effects of low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs)