But what does ecotherapy mean? How much does a walk in a forest really improve our mood and of those around us?
Technogym Village: eco-friendly excellence
What is ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is the practical application of ecopsychology.
Because green is good for health
A 2015 study for example compares the brain activity of a sample of people after walking for 90 minutes in a natural or urban environment. They found that those who took a walk in the green had had less activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that activates the rumination phase - where people tend to repeat thoughts and focus on negative emotions.
How long does it take to appreciate the effects? How many times a week?
Ways and times for ecotherapy
Ecotherapy: alone or in a group?
The disciplines of ecotherapy: a selection
- Biophilia - is a discipline where it is not possible to live a complete life far from nature, even if mediated by photos or videos. Dutch studies have in fact shown how it is sufficient to observe a lush natural landscape in photography which helps to observe increase the uptake of a positive perspective, opening up horizons towards more optimistic existential perspectives. People's exposure to natural landscapes extends their temporal horizons, while exposure to urban landscapes dramatically narrows their perspectives.
- Silvotherapy - Embracing a tree to feel better. It consists of direct contact with the trunks of tall plants. The technique is very simple: the back is placed on the trunk, the palm of the right hand is placed on the solar plexus that corresponds to the mouth of the stomach and the back of the left is placed in contact with the kidneys. In this position, you make slow and deep breaths for about twenty minutes. If Silvotherapy is then supplemented with physical exercises or even better with yoga, we speak of "Active Silvotherapy". Among the benefits, there seems to be a marked improvement in nervousness and insomnia. The explanation is to be found in the production of negative ions of the trees: the negative ionization of the air creates a general feeling of body relaxation, leads to detoxification and improvement of breathing, as well as an increase in the assimilation of vitamins B and C, and a higher level of concentration.
- Vegetable garden therapy - The world can be divided into two types of people: indoor people and outdoor people. Similarly there are those of us who are gardeners and those who are not particularly interested in gardening or laying hands in the ground but wholike the appearance of a garden and will take an outdoor walk on a sunny day. Orthotherapy is now a support to the conventional treatments of many hospitalsbut it is a fact that taking care of a vegetable garden is a natural anti-stress remedy. If you don't have a vegetable garden, it is enough to grow aromatic plants (maybe even in the office) and you can enjoy benefits that include increased productivity at work and better concentration.
- Garden Therapy - is a form of holistic therapy, useful for promoting health and inner well-being. It is mainly associated with looking after the garden, with particular reference to plants and flowers, and in some cases aromatherapy. Thanks to garden therapy, in fact, our sense of smell is positively stimulated by the scents emanating from the corollas and aromatic herbs that we can take care of. Caring for the garden promotes serenity, gives hope and the desire to commit oneself.
The positive effects of nature on our body
Among the proven effects on wellness of echotherapy:
- Increased energy: walking in the green or admiring the sunset helps lift our mood and energy. Nature is the fuel of the soul. Those who organise outdoor activities at the weekend are more regenerated at the beginning of the week than those who have spent hours on the sofa or in front of the television;
- Stress reduction: in contact with nature, cortisol, the notorious stress hormone, reduces its devastating effects on the body. The result is a reinvigorated and strengthened immune system.
- Memory improvement: Dementia symptoms are reduced by increased contact with green spaces. In clinics, they work to achieve precisely this type of benefit. Being outdoors increases memory by 20%. The stillness and vital energy that you breathe allows memories to emerge more easily and enhances the functioning of cognitive faculties. It is recommended to study outdoors.
- Creativity development: Children who were used to spending their free time outdoors develop a strong bond with the earth and its beauty. They are curious children with a fervent imagination.