Welcome to Optimal Health 360, where we embark on a journey into the rejuvenating embrace of nature’s healing touch. In a world where the hustle and bustle often take precedence, the World Health Organization (WHO) illuminates the profound truth – that nature stands as our greatest source of health and wellbeing. Beyond the calming rustle of leaves and the soothing sounds of flowing water lies a prescription for holistic wellness.
While the mental health advantages of immersing oneself in the great outdoors have been acknowledged for years, the evolution of “green prescriptions” is now casting a broader therapeutic net. Join us as we explore why your next prescription might be a simple stroll in nature, unlocking the transformative power of nature in fostering physical health and vitality.
While the United States continues to advance in various aspects of healthcare, it lags behind its European and Asian counterparts in embracing holistic approaches. In the late nineties, doctors in New Zealand pioneered the issuance of green prescriptions, a practice that has since become an integral part of the government’s healthcare offerings. Interestingly, residents can even self-refer to access a myriad of free health benefits.
In 2020, the UK government allocated £4 million ($5.2 million) to a two-year green-prescription pilot, marking a proactive step in its post-COVID-19 recovery plan. Notably, spending time by water emerged as the top-rated nature activity for enhancing mental health in a 2021 survey.
Meanwhile, clinicians in Japan have been advocating ‘shinrin yoku’ or ‘forest bathing’ since 1982, encouraging patients to explore the country’s extensive 3,000 miles of woodland walks. With an investment of $4 million, Japan has actively promoted shinrin yoku as a national health program, emphasizing the enduring significance of nature-centric practices in comprehensive healthcare.
As we conclude our exploration into the transformative potential of nature’s healing touch, it becomes evident that the embrace of green prescriptions is not merely a suggestion but a necessity for our collective well-being. With urbanization on the rise, the World Economic Forum’s Healthy Cities and Communities Initiative places nature at the forefront of its agenda, recognizing it as an essential component for the thriving urban landscapes of the future.
As we envision a world where more than two-thirds of the population will dwell in cities by 2050, integrating green prescriptions becomes paramount to fostering healthier and happier communities. The Blue Zone Projects, championing longevity and well-being, underlines the significance of nature as a central pillar in creating environments where people thrive.
To truly make green prescriptions effective, they must be seamlessly woven into a systemic approach, integrating nature-based interventions and cultivating nature-based thinking within the very fabric of urban infrastructure. Nature, in its infinite wisdom, stands ready to be our remedy, and it is our responsibility to embrace it for a healthier and harmonious future.