As the wellness movement grows, more and more of us are prioritizing natural health care. Products like probiotic tinctures and vitamin supplements labeled as natural, organic, or vegan are flying off the shelves.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness market grew 12.8% from 2015 to 2017, and was valued at a whopping $4.2 trillion in 2018. To put it in perspective, that means the market grew nearly twice as fast annually as global economic growth. Wellness expenditures were more than half as large as total global health expenditures in those years.
The growing health and wellness trend shows no signs of stopping.
But what if you do get sick? Whether it’s mentally or physically, it’s bound to happen even with every wellness product on the market. Maybe you can go outdoors to save on natural wellness products.
Nature Significantly Improves Health
One big reason why health is becoming such an important topic today: The stress of daily life is skyrocketing. With the growth of technology, we are always connected and powered on. As we watch strong, intelligent leads in movies or TV shows, we hold ourselves to higher standards. Everything is telling us to go, go, go for more, more, more.
It’s an exciting time to be alive, but wellness and self-care is becoming a major priority as people get overwhelmed by life’s possibilities, opportunities, and challenges. Some experts believe unplugging from electronic devices and spending time in nature slows down brain activity and reduces stress, making it the ultimate form of self-care.
In addition to stress relief and illness prevention, getting outside can be an effective form of treatment. A number of studies explore the health benefits of the great outdoors. From lowering blood pressure to stimulating muscles, nature can do it all. We’re listening.
Doctors Are Prescribing Nature As Medicine
Many doctors are going back to basics when it comes to medicine. They’re prescribing the outdoors as a treatment for a variety of ailments including depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and much more.
Park Rx America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering health, wellness, happiness, and environmental stewardship while minimizing the burden of chronic disease by partnering with a variety of healthcare professionals to prescribe nature, especially in the form of public parks.
The organization works with land managers and healthcare professionals to facilitate the prescription of parks and other public lands to medical patients. Doctors can become familiar with local parks to easily match them with patients who can use them for health.
Take, for example, an elderly patient who needs easy, regular exercise to improve her heart health. Her doctor may prescribe a specific local park with a level walking path that she can use a few times a week. Someone battling depression may be prescribed a park that has benches with spectacular views of the forest or ocean to improve their mindset.
Nearly 200 healthcare professionals nationwide have registered to take part. So far, Park Rx America has incorporated nearly 8,500 parks into its prescribing platforms across 34 states. You can use their interactive map to find the parks near you or just head to your nearest neighborhood greenspace.
This article was originally published on May 2, 2019.