all about nature therapy

What is it?

Nature therapy, also called ecotherapy, is the practice of being in nature to boost growth and healing, especially mental health. You might also hear it called green care, green exercise, green therapy, or horticulture therapy. Although people use those terms to describe lots of outdoor activities, they can also be examples of specific nature therapy programs.

Even though the meaning of nature therapy can vary from person to person, but in general, nature therapy involves:

  • Appreciating and exploring nature
  • A green environment
  • A trained, supportive professional, like a therapist (in certain cases)

but, why nature therapy?

More and more research suggests that spending time in natural environments can be linked to mental health benefits.

For example, being in a green space has been linked to less anxiety, fewer depression symptoms, and lower stress levels. Spending time in nature helps people with depression and/or attention problems think more clearly.

“One of the top benefits that we address are for people who are trying to reduce anxiety or depression and increase relationship and connection,” Lung says. “I also think it’s super engaging, so for kids and teenagers ... [and] for people who are reluctant to be in therapy.”

Patricia Hasbach, PhD, a licensed professional counselor and clinical psychotherapist, is another expert in ecotherapy. She’s also co-director of the ecopsychology program at Lewis & Clark College.


Researchers have studied nature’s healing effects in a number of areas, including:


  • ADHD
  • Dementia
  • Lessened pain
  • Lowered stress
  • Medical recovery
  • Mood modification
  • Obesity
  • PTSD

Don’t just imagine the possibilities. Let’s get outside!

Need ideas for adventure, self-care, and therapy in nature? You’ll want to check this out!


{Source: Madeline Laguaite}

Medically Reviewed. (Brunilda Navario, MD)

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