Posted on Feb 16, 2023, 6 p.m.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, a best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
Forest bathing is a term based on a technique used in Japan since the 1980s that is used to describe a physiological and psychological exercise called Shinrin-Yoku which is done by spending time in forests, green spaces, and by bodies of water. The purported benefits of forest bathing are actions as an antidote to ease burnout and reconnect with nature. Researchers began studying the benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support the idea that time spent in nature is healing.
A new study examined visits to green spaces and the need for medication in urban dwellers.
The Helsinki Capital Region Environmental Health Survey in Finland was conducted in 2015−2016 and included 7321 participants. Cross-sectional associations of the amounts of residential green and blue spaces within a 1 km radius around the respondent’s home, green and blue views from home, and green space visits with self-reported use of psychotropic (anxiolytics, hypnotics, and antidepressants), antihypertensive and asthma medication were examined.
Amounts of residential green and blue spaces or green and blue views from the home were not associated with medications.
However, the frequency of green space visits was associated with lower odds of using psychotropic medication (30-40% reductions depending on the number of times/week) as well as similar reductions in antihypertensive (blood pressure) and asthma medication use.
Socioeconomic status was examined and was not a confounding factor.
Frequent green space visits were associated with less frequent use of psychotropic, antihypertensive, and asthma medication in urban environments. The number of visits was found to be a powerful predictor of less medication use so get outside in parks and forests as often as is possible and practical. Of course, do not change your medication without speaking to your medical team.
If you are not close to green spaces or are physically unable to partake in walking outside, it has been suggested to log on and view forest and water nature scenes as an alternative.
About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that he truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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