Dr Carly Wood, Lecturer in Food, Nutrition and Public Health, wrote an article for The Conversation about how ecotherapy aims to improve wellbeing through exposure to natural environments.
In the article, Dr Wood explains that the key difference between ecotherapy and recreation is the presence of a trained therapist. She wrote: “The role of the therapist is often overlooked, however they are key to facilitating the clients’ interactions with both the natural and social environment and setting clinical aims for the session.”
She added: “The therapist is not only key to facilitating the clients’ involvement in the natural and social environments; but also ensuring that each of the ecotherapy sessions have a defined purpose. It is common for both the client and therapist to be working towards this aim.”
Discussing the benefits of ecotherapy for mental health, Dr Wood wrote: “One systematic review analysed the benefits of natural environments for health and found that interacting with natural settings – such as walking or running in a public park – can provide a range of health benefits, including reduced stress and improved mood, wellbeing and self-esteem.”