Nature therapy (also known as ecotherapy) describes an approach to wellbeing that emphasizes meaningful exposure to nature. A 2017 review paper in the journal Environmental Health and Perspectives, published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, described 20 distinct physical, mental, and social benefits of nature contact. We’ve summarized 5 of these below.

  1. Improves stress, depression, and self-esteem [1, 2]
  2. Improves immune system function [1, 3]
  3. Improves blood pressure and sugar [1, 4]
  4. Improves cognitive performance [5]
  5. Improves community relationships [1, 6]

All possibilities that arise just from connecting with nature! Even better, nature contact doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Research shows that beneficial nature exposure can range from simply looking at nature through a window, to working with potted plants, to day trips or hikes, all the way up to intensive wilderness adventures. Here are 10 examples of nature therapy approaches.

Easy ways to incorporate more nature into your day-to-day life include changing your phone or computer background to a nature scene, changing your commute to pass by nature features, adding plants and bird feeders around your home, enjoying a short walk through a garden or park during breaks, or picnicking under a few trees. A Nature Therapy Guide can also provide personal guidance on connecting with nature, including leading specialized group or individual walks and meditations in nature.

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. It also makes a great adjunct to the Academy’s Spiritual Wellness Specialist program. 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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