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 (Technical Director)

Cortney Cameron, an earth scientist and nature therapy expert, holds a B.A. in earth and ocean sciences from Duke University, an M.S. in earth science from North Carolina Central University (where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow), and an M.B.A. from the Quantic School of Business and Technology. The co-author of Nature Therapy Walks, popular with many professional therapists, she developed her practical approach to nature therapy after using nature immersion to heal from an eating disorder and the early deaths of her parents, leading numerous nature walks for others, and using her scientific background to digest and synthesize the research in the field. A lifelong nature lover who grew up in the wilds of the Appalachian Foothills, she is currently a hydrogeologist working in water resources and environmental protection in the state of Florida, has served as Secretary and Treasurer for the Southeastern Geological Society, and is a member of the Religious Naturalist Association. She has published several creative and scientific works, including the Catians comic book and the Geologist in Love poetry collection.

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