What is nature therapy? 10 examples of nature therapy approaches

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.

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