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The beauty of natural therapy

It’s official – spending time in nature improves sleep and reduces chronic health problems.

When it comes to studies relating to the health benefits of greenspace and regular doses of sunshine, this story by Professor Kerryn Phelps is essential reading for those people who have responsibility for making decisions about the value of nature when it comes to our social and economic wellbeing. Quite frankly, there’s no substitute that is so cost effective and so life enhancing. In Natural therapy (Australian Women’s Weekly, Nov. 2018) Phelps lists a range of chronic health problems that can be reduced through increased contact with nature and then goes on mention how:  “In our busy lives, particularly in cities, it is common to see people who live almost entirely indoors, working in air conditioned offices and retail malls and exercising indoors in gyms without even an open window.”    She goes on to say:  “Children and young people are spending less time outdoors … replacing it with sitting inside, playing video games, watching television or managing their social media profiles.”

To read the full story visit your local library or ask a friend for a copy of their AWW November 2018 issue. It is on page 149.

The study that Professor Phelps has referenced comes from the University of East Anglia (UEA).  Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, is the lead author from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, into what has been one of the largest studies ever undertaken into the health benefits of going bush – literally.

What follows is three extracts from the University of East Anglia study ….

Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits.A new report published today (6 July 2018)  reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress and high blood pressure.  Populations with higher levels of greenspace exposure are also more likely to report good overall health – according to global data involving more than 290 million people.  Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, said: “Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood.  “We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost.”  The research team studied data from 20 countries including the UK, the US, Spain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan – where Shinrin yoku or ‘forest bathing’ is already a popular practice.  ……………..   “This is really important because in the UK, 11.7 million working days are lost annually due to stress, depression or anxiety.”  ‘Forest bathing’ is already really popular as a therapy in Japan – with participants spending time in the forest either sitting or lying down, or just walking around. Our study shows that perhaps they have the right idea!  ………….   The research team hope that their findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend that patients spend more time in greenspace and natural areas.   ……………………….

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And this story from Alice Walton: ‘Forest Bathing’ Really May Be Good For Health, Study Finds.  Writing in Forbes magazine (July 10, 2018) Walton says among other things that, the authors of: It’s official – spending time outside is good for you, suggest that “green prescriptions,” especially for those who lack everyday access to green spaces, may be a valuable addition to medicine, as they could have measurable health benefits over the years. And, as those who spend regular time in nature know, the mental health benefits of forest bathing may be just as strong.   ………………………

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