Wizard of Natural Healing
Michelle Fielding Exclusive Interview with Dr Glen Swartwout Treats GLAUCOMA and Disease Naturally
Recent studies have also linked nature to symptom relief for health issues like heart disease, depression, cancer, anxiety and attention disorders.
The quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, good smells and fresh, clean air in forests all contribute to the effects.
IT CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Spending time outside is good for the heart, research shows, and since high blood pressure costs the U.S. approximately $48.6 billion per year and affects 1 in 3 Americans, visiting green spaces may be a simple and affordable way to improve heart health. A large June 2016 study found that nearly 10% of people with high blood pressure could get their hypertension under control if they spent just 30 minutes or more in a park each week. “If everyone were to make time for nature, the savings on health care costs could be incredible,” says study author Danielle Shanahan, a research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia.
The fresh air could be one factor, since air pollution has been linked to a higher risk for heart attacks, but since the study participants lived in cities (and therefore were also being exposed to air pollution), that likely isn’t the only driver. Scientists think stress reduction also plays a part. “Nature is undemanding,” says Shanahan. “It requires effortless attention to look at the leaves of a tree, unlike the constant emails at work or the chores at home.”
Trees’ natural fragrance may also play a role, as some studies have shown that phytoncides lower blood pressure by quelling the body’s fight-or-flight response, which stresses the body.
2. EXPOSURE TO IT CAN INCREASE AWE
Looking at a stunning waterfall or undulating countryside can do more than enrich your Instagram feed: it can also elicit feelings of awe that bring a number of health benefits. In a 2015 study, researcher Paul Piff of the University of California, Irvine, found that people who spent 60 seconds looking up at towering trees were more likely to report feeling awe, after which they were more likely to help a stranger than people who looked at an equally tall–but far less awe-inspiring–building.
“Experiences of awe attune people to things larger than themselves. They cause individuals to feel less entitled, less selfish, and to behave in more generous and helping ways.” The benefits of awe are physical too: regularly experiencing moments of awe has been linked to lower levels of inflammatory compounds in the body.
Everyday interactions with nature can also benefit. An April 2016 study of 44 cities found that urban areas with more parks scored higher on measures of community well-being. That’s likely because parks give people opportunities to socialize and be active with their neighbors, which could improve health, the researchers say. People in cities with lots of green space were more likely to report having more energy, good health and a sense of purpose too.