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Doctors in Scotland can now prescribe nature to their patients

It is a well-documented fact that nature and the outdoors have huge health benefits. From a decrease in blood pressure to dealing with anxiety and increasing happiness, the list of benefits goes on. As such, doctors have often advised patients on the health benefits of being outdoors or taking up a sport. 
Many times patients have been advised to move out of the city to the countryside in order to improve their health. Prescribing nature to patients, however, is something which has only recently been advocated in Shetland, Scotland. In this first of a kind program begun in October, in the U.K., doctors are now legally allowed to prescribe nature to their patients.
This program hopes to reap multiple health benefits for patients, such as increasing happiness, reducing blood pressure and anxiety and preventing heart disease and stress.
A whole leaflet of various prescription suggestions of how to make the best of nature has been created for doctors. Some of the suggestions are quite amusing like the one in March which suggests creating beach art from natural materials or ‘borrowing’ a dog for a walk. Or the one in May which prescribes ‘burying your face in the grass!’ There are several other suggestions for the rest of the months like making a windsock from a hoop to ‘appreciate the speed of the wind’ or staring at two different kinds of grass to appreciate the variety of nature. There’s even a suggestion to ‘talk to a pony!’

Nature is known to be one of the best cures for many illnesses. A long walk through the woods will not only keep your blood pressure under control but will also help dispel depression and reduce aggression.
In his book Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane laments how the words used to describe nature have no real connection to it. He was worried that old words apt for describing certain landscapes was getting buried under new vocabulary. Many Shetlandic words such as flaa, skumpi, grumma, iset and dub have been used in the book to probably bring them back.
For patients in this region who have been prescribed with spending more time outdoors, these words will probably take on a whole new meaning as they reconnect with their natural surroundings and rediscover the language of nature. Perhaps they’ll walk by a dub (a deep bog) or behold a grumma (a mirage brought on by haze or mist). No matter what they see or do when in the outdoors, patients that have been prescribed nature will undoubtedly feel a whole lot better.

Doctors in Scotland can now prescribe nature to their patients Doctors in Scotland can now prescribe nature to their patients Reviewed by Tim on January 15, 2019 Rating: 5

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