Doctors can now prescribe nature instead of medicine

Posted on 12 November 2018

Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant health benefits, a research report by the Norwich Medical School shows. Green space is known to reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

Medical practitioners in Shetland, Scotland, have recently been authorised to prescribe spending time in nature to their patients as an alternative therapy. If a doctor feels their patient could benefit from a nature prescription, they hand them a nature prescription calendar – a brochure with a checklist of outdoors-related things to try each month – to help encourage them to get out and explore the natural world.

Conditions such as blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease, and even mental illness are positively affected by being outdoors.

Spending time in nature improves your health.   Picture: Pixabay

The nature prescription calendar is filled with funny, quirky and charming ideas for ways you can fulfill the doctor’s orders. It includes suggestions such as ‘borrow a dog and take it for a walk’, ‘find a bud on a tree… feel the texture’ and ‘pick two different types of grass and really look at them’.

Spending 90 minutes outside every day decreases activity in the part of your brain associated with depression. As well as this, exploring nature reduces blood pressure, ADHD symptoms, anxiety, and aggression, and increases happiness. It even improves pain control and your immune system.

Doctors can expect their patients to start feeling noticeably better after they reconnect with nature.


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