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Ecotherapy: what it is, benefits and techniques

The pace of life today is fast, stressful and unstable, so it is common for our mental health to be adversely affected. It is estimated that up to one in four people will experience some type of mental health problem in their lifetime and support is essential at those times. A solution to these problems could be out there and research has shown that ecotherapy could help us.

In this AgroCorrn article we ask ourselves what ecotherapy is, its benefits and techniques .

What is ecotherapy or green therapy

Ecotherapy, also called green therapy or Earth-centered therapy , is a set of therapeutic techniques that maintains that we are part of a web of lifeand that our psychology is part of the environment. Ecotherapy has been talked about for many years, however the first who managed to give it wide public visibility was Theodere Roszac, with the publication of his innovative book ‘the voice of the Earth’ in 1992. Already in 1996 , Howard Clinebell published the book ‘Ecotherapy’, where he referred to healing and personal growth thanks to the healthy interaction of man with the Earth Clinebell preferred the concept of ecotherapy, since it includes work with the body, to that of ecopsychology, which studies psychological relationships with nature.

Ecotherapy claims the need to reinvent psychiatry and psychotherapy as a relationship between nature and human nature itself, taking into account scientific discoveries and wisdom from indigenous peoples. Therefore, this vision reveals that the human being is intimately and inseparably connected to nature . This changes our understanding of how to address the problems of the human mind and improve the bad relationship between human and environment.

This therapy is recommended in cases of anxiety, depression and stress and is currently being practiced in nursing homes, hospitals and mental health centers and in youth centers. This method is increasing more and more and showing more and more success stories.

Ecotherapy: benefits for physical and mental health

The benefits of ecotherapy are divided into:

Mental benefits

  • Reduction of negative thoughts: when living in large cities it is common to be burdened with stress that ends up generating anxiety, negative thoughts or depression. Nature has been observed to positively impact the mind, like a reset button that reduces obsessive and negative thoughts. According to a Stanford University study, walking 90 minutes a day through a natural environment reduces rumination and negative thoughts. It also reduces neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex.
  • Promotes creativity: According to a study by Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer, forest bathing (an ecotherapy technique) increases creativity by up to 50% in solving complex problems, that is, staying in contact with a Natural environment allows us to focus our attention completely on the problem.
  • Boosts Brain Power – Running in the woods not only burns 400-700 calories per hour, it also helps keep cells healthy and nourished.A study conducted at Columbia University found that exercising in nature improves fitness. memory and cognitive ability, increasing the volume of the hippocampus.
  • Mastering Attention Deficit Disorder: According to a study by researchers Frances E. Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor, exposure to outdoor activities significantly decreases ADHD symptoms.

Physical benefits

One study found that those who spent time walking or resting in the woods had lower levels of cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate. Other studies have found improvements in sleep, improved immune system functions, and lower rates of stress-related disorders in those who spend time in nature.

Ecotherapy techniques

Some techniques within ecotherapy are:

  • Forest bathing, Shinrin Yoku or forest bath: translated in Spanish as forest bath, it consists of performing a therapy within the atmosphere of the forest. Here we explain more about Forest Baths, the art of enjoying nature .
  • Earthing or grounding: it translates as connecting with the earth and is based on seeking and finding balance for our health through the electrical reconnection of our body with the earth, with activities such as walking barefoot on the grass or on the beach or enjoying of a long, relaxing shower or hot bath.
  • Other activities to connect with nature: they consist of hugging a tree, hiking, climbing mountains, sitting by the river, gazing at the sea or taking part in guided meditations in a natural environment.
Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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