According to a Finnish study, frequent visits to green spaces would have a positive effect on the taking of psychotropic drugs prescribed to soothe anxiety, depression or regular episodes of insomnia.
- Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by permanent inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
- One in three adults is affected by high blood pressure, according to Inserm.
When you live in the city center, it is not always easy to go to a green space or to the edge of a pond to enjoy a moment of calm. However, taking advantage of nature allows you to recharge your batteries and soothe your morale. In any case, this is what a study published in the journal suggests. Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
What are the beneficial effects of nature on health?
According to Finnish research, regular visits to green spaces would alleviate certain psychiatric and physiological disorders. To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied an environmental survey conducted in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa (Finland) where nearly 7,000 participants were followed from 2015 to 2016.
During the research, the volunteers were asked about their consumption of psychotropic drugs (anxiolytics, hypnotics and antidepressants) prescribed in the case of anxiety or depression. Taking antihypertensives and asthma medications was also taken into account. The researchers also asked them about the number of green spaces (parks, forests, gardens) and blue spaces (lakes, ponds, seas) visited on a daily basis.
A decrease in the consumption of psychotropic drugs
According to the results, three to four walks in green spaces per week would reduce the likelihood of using psychotropic drugs for a mental health disorder by 33%. Participants who regularly visited parks or forests were also less likely to seek treatment for blood pressure (36%) or asthma (26%).
“This finding is consistent with tentative evidence highlighting the importance of effective use of green space in relation to mental health, and suggests that the same is true for other health conditions, such as asthma and high blood pressure”the researchers noted.
However, scientists have found no change in people who live next to green or blue spaces and/or have views of these areas. The beneficial effect of parks or forests on mental health therefore only works for individuals who visit them regularly.