Ecotherapy: How Nature Benefits Our Health
You know that feeling you get when you have been couped up inside for too long? That itchy craving to get outside?
Turns out, just as with many of our cravings, there is a big reason for it!
Science has proven that nature has a major effect our on health and wellbeing. They even have a name for it – Ecotherapy: Nature Therapy.
Ecotherapy is defined as a wide range of therapy programs which aim to improve your mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature. It is about removing ourselves a small degree from technology and letting nature do it’s work in us giving us positive health benefits.
In Japan they call it “forest bathing” and it is prescribed for various ailments – it is even covered under insurance in some cases! Many other countries are also starting to prescribe similar ecotherapy techniques as holistic medicine becomes more widespread.
I know it always makes me feel better to have time outside.
So why is nature so beneficial to our health?
What Nature Does For Us
It always amazes me just how connected we are to each other and to nature. How each affect each. The positive benefits to spending time in nature are so unique, we simply can’t get them anywhere else.
This is a very controversial topic. We all learned about positive and negative ions in elementary school, we know that too much positive creates tension and stress and the negative alleviate this. All of the technology today emits positive charges that fill us – our phones, computers, cars etc. Science has proven that by spending as little as 30 minutes a day with bare foot to earth (whether it is grass, sand, dirt, natural water – earth) removes the stressful positive and replaces with the calming negative.
The basic theory is that because many of us don’t come into direct contact with the earth very often, a large positive charge can build up in our bodies inviting stress and illness, adding to all of the stress brought on by our hectic lifestyles. By spending time each day with skin to earth – grounding – the earth acts like a ground for our electrical outlet (our bodies) and reduces the positive charges.
It has been reported that doing this everyday improves sleep quality and can reduce inflammation in the body. Again, I have to say, I know I feel better when I am conscious of spending time outside and I can feel a difference if I have been stuck behind my computer writing for too long!!
This is such an important vitamin, and one more than 85% of us are deficient in that I have written a separate post just on this! Read Vitamin D to see the long list of things this vitamin is responsible for and the best ways to get it.
Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone our bodies attain mainly through sun exposure. Most people will not absorb the supplements properly making exposure to sun the only way to get this vital vitamin. It has been linked with cancer, obesity, many mental health disorders; all making time in the sun (nature) super important to maintaining balanced health.
Nature encourages us to exercise! Think about it, the majority of nature experiences include exercise. Whether it is a nice walk in the woods, a rigorous jog through the park, a hike, kayaking, a good swim… not only are you getting the benefits of nature but you are using your body, exercising, promoting a balanced, conscious life.
Something of great importance that I have written about many times before. Our indoor air pollution is crazy high – 70% worse than outdoor air pollution. Outdoor air is full of those beneficial negative ions, while indoor air is often stale and filled with positive ions. Getting outside to breathe every day is essential to our health. Being conscious of our indoor air is good too – check out my post on ways to disinfect our indoor air – but it is not enough. We need to get outside to let nature balance us out!
— Malibu Mama Loves® (@MalibuMamaLoves) November 8, 2017
While we used to spend most of our time outside taking in a wide variety of colors and lights, we now spend more time looking at a tv, tablet or phone screen and hurrying to the next activity without taking in all that is around us. It is no wonder that nearsightedness is on the rise.
Studies have shown that children who spent a minimum of 2 hours outside each day are 4 times less likely to be nearsighted or have vision problems. This is a no brainer!
We know it is at an all time high. What we don’t realize is that nature can help. Studies have shown that participants who regularly gave themselves exposure to early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than those who did not. There is something unique about the early morning light that researchers and doctors are finding and recommending to patients to get at least 30 minutes of early morning sunlight to help keep cortisol levels and circadian rhythms in the right ranges. Interesting, isn’t it?!
Share the love – pin this
How To Get Ecotherapy
It’s so simple it is awesome! Get outside! Take a walk, play an outdoor game with the kids, go the beach or park, go skiing, take a river trip, do some gardening (this is a great way to get some morning sunlight)!
Travel! It is my favorite way, going someplace new, getting outside and enjoying all of the amazing things that destination has to offer!
Whatever you fancy, get yourself out there!
You will be so glad you did!!
Cheers and Happy Sunning!
Malibu Mama Loves Xxx