Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature By MiNDFOOD December 13, Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature How getting back to nature can greatly impact on our health and wellbeing Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature When author Richard Louv turns off his computer and phone and heads out of town for a weekend away with his wife, he gets withdrawal symptoms. My sleep patterns return to normal; it does the world [of good] for us. More and more researchers believe our disconnection from nature affects our health. The biophilia hypothesis, first put forward by Harvard University scientist Edward O.
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Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature By MiNDFOOD December 13, Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature How getting back to nature can greatly impact on our health and wellbeing Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature When author Richard Louv turns off his computer and phone and heads out of town for a weekend away with his wife, he gets withdrawal symptoms.
My sleep patterns return to normal; it does the world [of good] for us. More and more researchers believe our disconnection from nature affects our health. The biophilia hypothesis, first put forward by Harvard University scientist Edward O. Wilson, argues humans are innately attracted to nature and that our tendency to affiliate with living things separate from ourselves is genetically based. Research spanning 10 years confirms strong, positive changes in people responding to trees, landscapes, forest trails and scenic vistas, not to mention the love and connection we feel to animals.
Even watching fish in an aquarium has been shown to have therapeutic effects. As well as lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, strengthening our immune systems and reducing the risk of many types of cancers, nature has a profound effect on our mental health, too. Depression levels plummet, we can focus better, think more creatively and feel far less stressed. One year study of recovering gallbladder surgery patients compared those who faced a view of trees with those facing a brick wall — the patients looking out at nature went home sooner.
Another study found prisoners with a view of farmland rather than a courtyard fell ill 25 per cent less often. Now, the vast majority of jobs require us to spend most of our time in front of a screen. But not engaging all our senses is the very definition of being less alive, Louv says.
Designers are responding to the call for a healthier and more productive workforce by weaving nature in and around work spaces, as this means productivity goes up, turnover improves and sick days go down. A greener office is just the beginning, though. Sitting is the new smoking, according to many, and, as author and businesswoman Nilofer Merchant writes in the Harvard Business Review, all that inactivity can contribute to the development of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer.
As well as encouraging the use of standing desks, Merchant decided to incorporate some real exercise into her day by holding walking meetings. A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that the more green spaces people had in their neighbourhood, the happier they were. Also called Green Care, this approach uses nature-based interventions in natural settings to help people feel better and recover from mental illness, and also to help them feel less isolated from society.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is predicted to be the second leading cause of disability in the world by , following only ischemic heart disease. UK charity Mind reports that exposure to nature enhances mood and self-esteem, reduces feelings of anger, confusion, tension and depression, and improves physical health and a sense of connection with others.
Mind has funded ecotherapy projects and helped more than 12, people in the process. One such project uses gardening and growing food to help people with mental health issues improve their sense of wellbeing. Green exercise therapy — walking in nature — has also proven to be effective.
Exercising in nature is far more effective at improving low to moderate rates of depression than exercise alone and the more frequently we visit natural spaces, the lower the incidence of stress, according to Mind.
A Coventry University study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found children exposed to scenes of nature while exercising are more likely to experience health-enhancing effects. Kids aged 9 were asked to ride a stationary bike in a series of 15 minute bursts, one group while watching a video of a forest track, the other with no visual stimulus. The children whose bikes were synched to the forest track had substantially lower blood pressure post-activity.
Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind
Content uploaded by Helen Owton Author content All content in this area was uploaded by Helen Owton on Dec 20, Content may be subject to copyright. Buzzell and Chalquist have compiled this book with many valuable contributions from other ecotherapists working in the field. I am familiar with the work on ecopsychology which was a lens to help me understand some of my research I conducted with sportspeople with asthma for my PhD. The book has a phenomenological attitude and is divided into five parts bustling with difference voices some of whom I am more familiar with than others in each section: 1 greening of psychotherapy; 2 ecotherapy in practice — working from the inside out; 3 Ecotherapy in practice — working from the outside in; 4 community as ecotherapy; 5 ecospirituality and ecotherapy. It seems ironic this idea of disease or as Leder would call it dys-ease 1 stemming from the economy which forms the need for ecotherapy; a theme emerging from the book. There appears to be a continuing theme in the book about restoration which is particularly prevalent in this section.
Ecotherapy: the healing power of nature