In Scotland doctors prescribe travel and nature to heal their patients


If you are sick but you do not want to go to the hospital to spend long hours in a waiting line so that in the end you are prescribed acetaminophen, fluid intake and rest, we understand you.

Between studies, medicines, consultations and work or school permits, going to the doctor becomes a debilitating situation. However, in Scotland there are those who long to get an appointment with their family doctor, because they usually prescribe the perfect medicine for any evil: travel and nature around the world!

Yes, you read well, the Scottish doctors are authorized to prescribe trips to natural environments, as well as walks in parks, forests or everyday activities that involve nature.

This medical measure seeks to reduce diseases that are becoming common, for example, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

All doctors in the country can prescribe contact with nature as part of the treatment of their patients with chronic diseases. Many of the health problems come from bad habits, stress and junk food. Spending 90 minutes a day in wooded areas stabilizes blood pressure levels, and one day in nature, on a recurring way, improves the immune system.

That is why in Scotland doctors have opted to counteract diseases and the causes of stress by replacing them with a moment of peace, far from the routine, stress, noise and pollution of large cities.

But the Scottish doctors are not the first to use trips to the forest to heal chronic diseases: in Japan there is a practice called shirin yoku or forest bath, which consists of walking through the forest but in a meditative way, as explained by Amos Clifford, founder of the Association of Therapies of Nature and the Forest:

It is about taking time to admire the landscape, breathe deeply, feel the air, listen to the wind, the birds, forget about routine and live with our inner peace.

In addition, studies conducted by Japanese scientists discovered that forest baths favor health: low blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, reduces hormones related to stress and reduces the risk of heart attacks.

Pack your suitcase and enjoy nature without worry!

Patients to be prescribed nature (Shetland/Scotland) - BBC News - 5th October 2018 (April 2021)