Doctors prescribe “blue therapy”
But many experts now believe that blue spaces, such as lakes and rivers, could be even more useful than green spaces.
“Blue spaces provide us with distractions that take our minds off our everyday problems,” says Kate Campbell, a health psychology researcher at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. “The sound of crashing waves, the smell of salty air, the crunch of sand under our toes… Sensations relax our bodies and tell our minds to shut down.”
Campbell believes that humans have an “innate predisposition” toward the natural environment that once benefited us as an evolving species. Natural spaces that provided sustenance, comfort, and safety to premodern humans are likely to provide a similar sense of ease even in today’s urban world. Spending time in blue spaces, Campbell says, can feel like “coming home.”
The concept of blue health emerged nearly 10 years ago when researchers at the University of Sussex asked 20,000 people to randomly record their feelings. They collected over a million responses and found that people did by far the happiest when they were in blue spaces.
Rather, this was discovered by experts from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Spending time in blue spaces reduces the risk of stress, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Niamh Smith, a researcher at GCU and co-author of the study, says the team found an impact on mental and general health from spending time in blue spaces. Research has also linked time spent in blue space with a reduction in body mass index (BMI) and a lower risk of mortality.
“People we really appreciate the therapeutic space“They love the sound of running water, having a reflective space to sit quietly, a place to clear your head from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
“We know that there are four main ways that blue spaces affect health – through physical activity, reducing stress, providing space for socialization. [and finally the] environmental factors that affect our health. For example, if the river is lined with trees, you have shade.”
In fact, blue spaces are so good for your health that your doctor can now prescribe them.
“My depression comes in cycles,” says Harune Akthar, speaking from his home in west London.
Ten years ago, the 27-year-old was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, ADHD, depression and anxiety.
“When I had a bad day, it would take me three to four days to snap out of it,” he says. “I slept and ignored everyone, including my family – and I love my family. I wouldn’t eat. You would rarely see me.”
Over the years, Akthar tried a number of different therapies, but found none that helped him. Then, in June of this year, his doctor referred him to the hospital Blue Prescribing a scheme run by the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust (WWT), charity organization.
After the first day, he didn’t think it was for him. By the end of the second, he couldn’t wait to get back.
#Doctors #prescribe #blue #therapy