Monday, March 22, 2010

Green Prescription

I'm sure everyone has experienced being renewed and invigorated after a weekend getaway in a secluded mountain resort or in an island resort. A gentle stroll in the park, hiking in the woods or just sitting by the backyard garden can give one that feeling of being recharged and soothing one's frayed nerves. Communing or connecting with Mother Nature gives a healing and energizing experience. One doesn't have to go to the mountains to commune with nature. Simple activities such as gardening, viewing the scenery or the birds outside your garden would suffice as long as these activities are done regularly.

The idea of nature being medicine is already centuries old. In the nineteenth century, affluent families would spend months in the country for psychological and emotional restoration. Poets regarded nature as the great  healers of broken spirits.
Nowadays, the current term for the nature's healing power is called ECOTHERAPY by health experts.
Ecotherapy is also called "earth-centered therapy" and is defined as healing and growth nurtured by a healthy interaction with nature. It is beneficial for various ailments like migraine, attention-deficit disorders, severe psychological or stress-related problems. A study in children diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder) showed that they improved in behavior and mood after outdoor activities in green environments as compared to watching TV or playing video games.
Studies have shown that elderly people who live in a green environment (plenty of trees, with gardens) tend to live longer regardless of socio-economic settings. Students perform effectively when they study at desks stationed before windows that open to natural scenery.
In 2001, Kuo and Sullivan noted that  occupants of housing units with no immediate view or access to greenery reported a higher rate of violent conflicts with partners or children. Studies also show that people with limited access to nature tend to have weaker cognitive functions and management of major life issues.

According to research, the benefits of a green environment extends to the community or even society by strengthening community ties. Poor communities with more green access have been reported to have lower crime rates and had more socializing between neighbors.
"People with access to nearby natural settings have been found to be healthier overall than other individuals, and are more satisfied with life in general," says Dr Mardie Townsend, an associate professor in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Melbourne, who reviewed the research literature on nature and human health.
"Having access to appealing natural environments encourages physical activity, which has obvious benefits. It also has a calming effect, reducing stress and blood pressure, even cholesterol," says Townsend.

Reconnecting with nature can be an important anti-stress and disease-preventing form of therapy in our increasingly urbanized world. It appears that simply looking at nature regularly can go a long way in keeping us mentally and physically healthy. We should increase our daily dose of green!


lina@happy family said...

Great post... I've ever heard about garden healing...

I invite you to join the Spellquizzer giveaway. Check it out...

scribbler said...

Thanks, Lina! :)

I'll be right there to check your giveaway! :)

Kucing Bunted said...

posting yang bagus..
teruskan kawan.. :)

orkut scraps said...

nice post...thanks