Should doctors prescribe nature visits?

Doctors will not be abandoning pills and procedures, but to help patients avoid growing heavier, sadder, or sicker, this feature article from Outdoors Magazine details how some physicians are now also are looking far outside their offices.

Doctors have been encouraging their patients to go outside for millennia. Hippocrates called walking “man’s best medicine.” Han dynasty physicians encouraged outdoor “frolicking exercises” to ward off aging. And until the mid-1940s, tuberculosis patients were sent to mountain retreats to take in the “magic airs.”

What’s happening now is different. It’s widespread, systematic, and, at least in aspiration, evidence based.
— Arron Reuben in Outside magazine
We are where physical exercise used to be about 30 years ago, when it started to take off, But, I know I have to prove it.
— Bita Kash, director of the Center for Health and Nature at Houston Methodist Hospital
Great advances in public health don’t always come from the shelves of pharmacies. Historically, a large number have arrived through collective efforts for change—to channel waste away from cities, screen food for contamination, or remove deadly toxins from the water supply, to name just a few. It’s a paradox of modern life that some of the most promising innovations in health care seem to be the outcome of collective action involving not just health care providers, but also journalists, insurers, park agencies, and conservationists, to reconnect us with things we’ve recently discarded.
— Arron Reuben in Outside magazine