The Relationship between Humans, Nature, and Health: What the research tell us — Exploring Roots
This relationship is a vast field of research for ecology (an interdisciplinary The human-nature relationship also involves elements of philosophy as it concerns. A growing trend in environmental research is the quantification of the hu- man- nature relationship. This review of human-nature psychometric instru-. research program which sought answers to these questions. The research data is used to propose a pedagogical framework for human/nature relationship.
Some have been shaped by what Radkau 75 terms as the power shift between humans and nature, which is evolving, as it has and will keep on doing.
As such, the human—nature relationship goes beyond the extent to which an individual believes or feels they are part of nature.
It can also be understood as, and inclusive of, our adaptive synergy with nature as well as our longstanding actions and experiences that connect us to nature.
Over time, as research and scientific knowledge progresses, it is anticipated that this definition of the human—nature relationship will adapt, featuring the addition of other emerging research fields and avenues. It is, however, beyond the scope of this paper to review the many ways these concepts have been previously explored 84 — Since then, this shift has seen a major growth in the last 30 years, primarily in areas of positive health and psychology 88 — Despite its broad perspective of human health, the definition has also encountered criticism in relation to its description and its overall reflectance of modern society.
Similarly, others have highlighted the need to distinguish health from happiness 84 or its inability to fully reflect modern transformations in knowledge and development e. As such, there have been calls to reconceptualize this definition, to ensure further clarity and relevance for our adaptive societies Broadly, health has been measured through two theoretical approaches; subjective and objective First, physical health is defined as a healthy organism capable of maintaining physiological fitness through protective or adaptive responses during changing circumstances While it centers on health-related behaviors and fitness including lifestyle and dietary choicesphysiological fitness is considered one of the most important health markers thought to be an integral measure of most bodily functions involved in the performance of daily physical exercise These can be measured through various means, with examples including questionnaires, behavioral observations, motion sensors, and physiological markers e.
Second, mental health is often regarded as a broad concept to define, encapsulating both mental illness and well-being. It can be characterized as the positive state of well-being and the capacity of a person to cope with life stresses as well as contribute to community engagement activities 83 It has the ability to both determine as well as be determined by a host of multifaceted health and social factors being inextricably linked to overall health, inclusive of diet, exercise, and environmental conditions.
As a result, there are no single definitive indicators used to capture its overall measurement. This owes in part to the breadth of methods and tends to represent hedonic e. Third, social health can be generalized as the ability to lead life with some degree of independence and participate in social activities Indicators of the concept revolve around social relationships, social cohesion, and participation in community activities.
Further, such mechanisms are closely linked to improving physical and mental well-being as well as forming constructs, which underline social capital. Owing to its complexity, its measurement focuses on strengths of primary networks or relationships e. Current Knowledge on the Human—Nature Relationship and Health This section summarizes existing theoretical and literature research at the intersection of the human—nature relationship and health, as defined in this review.
Physical Health Though it is widely established that healthy eating and regular exercise have major impacts on physical health 98within the past 30 years research has also identified that exposure to nature e.
Empirical research in this domain was first carried out by Ulrich 46 who found that those hospital patients exposed to natural scenery from a window view experienced decreased levels of pain and shorter recovery time after surgery.
In spite of its increasing findings, some have suggested the need for further objective research at the intersect of nature-based parameters and human health 9.
This presents inherent difficulty in comparing assessment measures or different data types relative to the size and scale of the variables being evaluated 9. Further, there still remain evidence gaps in data on what activities might increase levels of physical health as well as limited amount of longitudinal datasets from which the frequency, duration, and causal directions could be inferred Mental Health Mental health studies in the context of connecting with nature have also generated a growing research base since the emergence of the Biophilia concept in the mids Supporting research has been well documented in literature during the last few decades.
Similarly, further mixed-method approaches and larger sample sizes are needed in this research field. This would enhance existing evidence gaps to enhance existing knowledge of variable interlinkages with other important sources e.
Social Health In the last two decades, the relationship between people and place in the context of green spaces has received much attention in academic literature in regards to its importance for the vitality of communities and their surrounding environments Thousands of years ago, in ancient Greece, those seeking healing would often make a long journey to an Asclepion Temple, which was located far outside of the city, deep within the heart of nature or on a mountainside.
The journey into nature was part of the healing experience itself. There are countless other examples from around the ancient world that closely mirror this Greek example. InMuir wrote, "The tendency nowadays to wander in wildernesses is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of the rust and disease. Briskly venturing and roaming, some are washing off the sins and cobwebs cares Through the mid-late 's and early 's there was a growing trend of people seeking healing in natural settings. Not far from where I sit writing these words, Excelsior Springs, Missouri was a destination for wounded Civil War soldiers to come and soak in natural springs which were rumored to have healing benefits.
Countless others wounded in body or soul sought the same benefits in such springs or at other similar healing destinations around the country.
But, as our culture made important scientific advancements, we were perhaps a bit too quick to dismiss the anecdotal evidence in favor of a more rigid academic posture that relied solely on what can be quantified, measured, and proven as valid.
But, despite our heavy leanings towards so-called "evidence based treatments," we seem to be losing rather than gaining ground in addressing these issues.
The Relationship between Humans, Nature, and Health: What the research tell us
We need strategies that allow humans to be the human-animals we truly are, instead of being forced to live like machines. We need institutions that protect nature and ensure everyone has ample connection to greenspace near their homes. Over the last few decades, a growing body of research is showing the risks associated with not having enough nature in our lives, and the benefits of ensuring we do.
Here are a few examples: There is a mountain of research evidence showing the negative effects of being disconnected from nature. Here are some examples of what researchers have found: Eva Selhub and Dr.
The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
Alan Logan Fortunately, the research also demonstrates the healing potential of the human-nature relationship. To summarize, spending ample time in direct connection with the Earth is an essential element of one's wellbeing, and for those who suffer from a myriad of challenges, nature-based solutions can have potent benefits. Wilderness programs like those offered by Exploring Roots are proven to be more effective at promoting self-esteem, behavioral change, and interpersonal skills than traditional programs; while also helping participants to find relief from everyday stressors and rekindle a sense of belonging with the natural world.
Participants also demonstrate that many who have these experiences have lifestyle shifts that result in reconnecting with nature as a central need in their lives.
Studies conducted on wilderness programs show positive results for stress mitigation and recovery, whereas those conducted in urban settings have the opposite effects.
Some studies have shown that, "green exercise proves as effective as taking antidepressants. Research shows that bringing nature indoors house plants or nature sounds, for example results in increased productivity, improved mood, and decreased boredom.
Increased learning and task performance occur in educational settings that are greener. In hospitals or doctors offices, plants contribute to decreased anxiety, shortened recovery times, and decreased usage of painkillers.
Breast Cancer patients recover more completely and with less fatigue when they have exposure to green space. Inpatients report less depression and have lower blood pressure when they are exposed to fragrances of fresh fruit.
In the psychotherapeutic setting, nature-guided imagery results in deeper relaxation than imagery without natural elements. Children from inner city neighborhoods who participate in summer camps have significantly higher self-esteem and describe themselves and their surroundings in a more positive manner as a result.
Children who grow up with green space nearby report being significantly less stressed than children who live in entirely built surroundings.
The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
Horticultural therapy, which began with WWII Veterans, has been shown to help treat stress, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, trauma, result in increased self-esteem, and have a variety of other benefits Prisoners who are exposed to videos of nature have fewer incidences of aggression and report better mood.
Healing with Nature in Mind. Edited by Linda Buzzel and Dr.