Nature Therapy: The Health Benefits of Being In The Forest

Is Nature The Right Prescription?

Imagine what our world would be like if they had advertisements like this on television instead of promoting mass consumerism.

The Science of Nature Connection

Spending more time in nature can improves your health and boost your mood, according to a grow body of scientific research.

There has been an enormous body of scientific evidence piling up for the last 30 years about how nature is often the best therapy for both physical and mental health problems.

It is our hope that more doctors will start prescribing weekly forest hike or time spent unplugged in nature a few times a week instead of pharmaceutical pills that often come with unpleasant side effects.

Here is the scientific research for the next big revolutionary advance in medicine: nature therapy.

1. Improves emotional well-being and reduces irritability.

There is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced negative emotions such as anxiety, depression and irritability.

Reference: Exposure to public natural space as a protective factor for emotional well-being among young people in Canada

2. Reduces tension and stress hormones like cortisol.

Feeling stressed? Research shows a link between exposure to nature and stress reduction. Time in green spaces significantly reduces cortisol.

Reference: More Green Space is Linked to Less Stress in Deprived Communities: Evidence from Salivary Cortisol Patterns

3. Nature improves attention span by increasing dopamine.

Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.

Reference: Examining Group Walks in Nature and Multiple Aspects of Well-Being: A Large-Scale Study

4. Exercising in green spaces increases mood and well-being.

Positive effects of green exercise on physical and psychological wellbeing have been found, yet little is known about the underlying cognitive mechanisms responsible for such effects.

Reference: Visual Color Perception in Green Exercise: Positive Effects on Mood and Perceived Exertion

5. Walking in nature improves self-esteem.

Green exercise is activity in the presence of nature. Evidence shows it leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes.

Reference: What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis

6. Time in nature decreases inattentiveness and improves ability to focus.

Contact with nature has restorative properties, which include increasing attentiveness, improving energy and increased feelings of vitality.

Reference: The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature

7. Regular time in nature may be an effective natural treatment for ADD/ADHD

Green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children across a wide range of individual, residential, and case characteristics.

Reference: A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study

8. Forest bathing improves immune system function.

The Japanese have done 40 years of research into the health benefits of what they call Shinrin-Yoku or bathing in the atmosphere of the forest.

Reference: Effect of Forest Bathing Trips on Human Immune Function

9. Forest bathing has positive effects on mental health.

Heart rate variability analysis indicated that the forest environment significantly increased parasympathetic nervous activity and significantly suppressed sympathetic activity of participants compared with the urban environment. 

Reference: Effect of Forest Bathing on Physiological and Psychological Responses in Young Japanese Male Subjects

10. An outdoorsy urban culture leads to a healthier community.

Nature's goods and services are the ultimate foundations of life and health, even though in modern societies this fundamental dependency may be indirect, displaced in space and time, and therefore poorly recognized.

Reference: Healthy Parks, Healthy People: The Health Benefits of Contact with Nature in a Park Context

"Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and the setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox! This is what is the matter with us, we are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the Earth, and sun, and stars - and love, poor blossom, we plucked from its stem on the tree of life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table."

― D.H. Lawrence


Explore The Healing Power of Nature Connection

Watch our free 30-minute webinar on how nature connection and learning the ecology of the land can both heal your mind, body and spirit while also helping you grow a regenerative culture in your community.


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