Nature therapy (also known as ecotherapy) describes an approach to wellbeing that emphasizes meaningful exposure to nature, which research has associated with numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Since connecting with nature can happen in myriad ways, nature therapy can take many distinct (but often overlapping and related) forms. Here are ten examples of nature therapy techniques.

  1. Brief Nature-Based Experiences – Short and enjoyable excursions (of less than one day) into nature. Includes day hikes, forest bathing (forest trips for relaxation and pleasure), and wandering (unstructured exploration of the environment).
  2. Nature Meditations – Purposefully relaxing in and observing nature, often focusing on present nature features.
  3. Nature Ceremonies – Celebratory activities or rituals expressing gratitude to or cultivating closeness with nature, especially conducted outdoors (e.g. singing and drumming; tea circles; incense or candle-lighting; campfire chants).
  4. Nature Arts and Crafts – Creating arts and crafts outdoors, especially using natural materials (e.g. painting on leaves or rocks; jewelry-making with local shells; sculpting with collected twigs and clay).
  5. Horticultural Therapy – Working with plants for relaxation (e.g. gardening; flower arranging).
  6. Care Farming – Stewardship and tending of animals, crops, and woodlands.
  7. Animal Therapy – Spending quality time with animals for relaxation.
  8. Green Exercise – Group exercises in nature (e.g. outdoor yoga). May also entail physical activities associated with conservation work (e.g. planting trees).
  9. Adventure Therapy – Strenuous outdoor group activities (e.g. rafting; climbing).
  10. Wilderness Therapy – Multi-day, skills-building group activities in remote outdoor settings (e.g. survival camping).

What kinds of nature therapy are you already implementing in your own life, and are there any types you would like to add?

As a health coach or nature therapy guide, what kinds of nature therapy would you like to implement with your clients? Using the list above can help you develop nature activities.

Become a Certified Nature Therapy Guide with the Natural Wellness Academy. Learn to implement a structured-yet-flexible template for leading successful nature walks and meditations, cultivating bidirectional healing experiences between nature and diverse audiences. Our program can be taken online, at your own pace, with no out-of-town travel required. Plus, all required materials are included with tuition. Click here to learn more.

Cortney Cameron (Technical Director)

Cortney Cameron is a geoscientist specializing in hydrogeology, environmental flows, and data analysis. She holds a bachelor's degree in from Duke University and a master's degree from North Carolina Central University, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Geoscience. She also earned an MBA from the Quantic School of Business and Technology and an associates (focused on health studies) from Wilkes Community College. An advocate for nature therapy, she is the co-author of the best-selling nature therapy book Nature Therapy Walks: 22 Sensory Activities to Enjoy in Nature for Wellbeing. She developed and heads the Academy's Nature Therapy Guide Certification Program, which helps students develop practical skills for cultivating bidirectional healing experiences between nature and diverse audiences. In addition, Cortney is a writer for the Catians comic book, along with various other technical and creative works, including the nature poetry chapbook, Geologist in Love. Cortney brings a passion for science, nature, and spirituality to the Academy. She also brings an extensive background in website development and serves as the main point of contact for website maintenance, upgrades, and technical issues.

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