It’s a well-known fact that nature has a positive effect on the health of our bodies. Whether it’s the natural light and fresh air, or the benefits of having a garden or a lawn, there are numerous reasons why we should have nature in our homes.
Aside from the obvious aforementioned benefits, there are plenty of other perks associated with nature. For instance, it’s a good way to de-stress.
Some studies have found that exposure to nature can reduce stress and improve mental health. It has also been correlated with cognitive improvements. However, it’s not yet clear what exactly nature’s positive effects are. As a result, many policymakers are waiting on the results of an actual intervention before making any serious investments in green infrastructure.
The Forest Preserves of Cook County recently hosted a symposium titled Nature, Culture, and Human Health at the Chicago Botanic Garden. In addition to the usual suspects, scientists from around the world convened to discuss the effects of natural surroundings on human health. Among other topics, the researchers discussed the latest scientific findings related to the effects of nature on human behavior.
Greenness, the state of being green, is believed to promote health by decreasing exposure to heat, noise, and air pollution. In addition, studies have shown that increased greenness is associated with reduced mortality. However, these findings are mixed. Identifying the specific role that greenness plays in health is important for future research.
Studies on greenness and health have used ecological, cross-sectional, and prospective analysis designs. These approaches have a number of limitations. For example, they may limit causal inference. Moreover, the effect of greenness on health may depend on many variables, such as gender, age, and socioeconomic status.
Several studies have found that greenness is positively associated with cardiovascular outcomes, such as the risk of CVD and stroke. Other studies have linked greenness to mental health, as well. Some of these studies also showed that greenness is associated with physical activity.
In a recent study conducted at a large urban teaching hospital, researchers examined the impact of nature on pain reduction. This study found that exposure to nearby natural scenery improves health and alleviates pain, particularly in hospital patients.
Nature has been shown to increase attention, reduce distracting stimuli, and enhance the capacity to resist competing demands. Specifically, studies have reported that exposure to nature can improve performance on cognitive tasks and decrease the intensity of acute pain. However, few studies have investigated the effects of nearby nature on the intensity of chronic pain.
A multi-level model of the relationship between nature and pain has been developed. The model includes a number of control variables. For example, pain catastrophizing, a key predictor of pain intensity, was moderated by nearby nature.
Phytoncides and mycobacteria vaccae
Phytoncides are a class of volatile organic compounds emitted by plants. Typically, they are emitted in order to protect trees and other vegetation from insects and decay. However, they may also be emitted into the air. They are thought to have the potential to have a significant biological impact on humans.
Among the many properties of phytoncides is their ability to depress the central nervous system. This effect is especially notable for mice. As a result, it is thought that the phytoncides that are inhaled by visitors to a plant emitting the most phytoncides have the potential to do what a good night’s sleep does.
Another of the aforementioned properties is the production of negative air ions. Negative air ions have a variety of beneficial effects on human health. Interestingly, negative air ions may actually be a form of good cheer.
Native Hawaiians’ connection to the land
The health of Native Hawaiians is directly linked to their connection to the land. This connection has been impacted by the loss of their ancestral lands. In response, the Hawaiian people have been advocating for the return of their lands.
The first Polynesian navigators to explore the Hawaiian Islands discovered them more than a millennium ago. They flourished as self-sustaining people for a thousand years. However, by the time the U.S. and European oligarchs forced King Kalakaua to sign the 1887 constitution, the islands had become a crowded tenement.
When the sugar cane industry was developed, the native Hawaiians were displaced from their land. This displacement disrupted their subsistence living, and led to a dramatic decline in the Hawaiian population.
Since then, Native Hawaiians have been economically marginalized and have suffered social disparities. Their cultural traditions have also been destroyed. For many, a loss of cultural heritage is a source of pain.