Rhythmic revitalisations

Attuning to nature for health and wellbeing

Authored by: Edward H. Huijbens

The Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138909830
eBook ISBN: 9781315693774
Adobe ISBN: 9781317437505


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Nature and natural landscapes can afford a therapeutic and healing connection that can be promoted at tourism destinations set within such environments. The potential therapeutic effect of nature and natural settings is well documented (Hartig et al., 2014). Simply viewing natural landscapes has shown to help with short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue (Pearson and Craig, 2014: 3), enable faster physical recovery from illness and contribute to long-term overall improvement of people’s health and wellbeing (Velarde et al., 2007). Experimental approaches in the medical literature gauging physiological and psychological benefits abound. Bowler et al. (2010) synthesise the findings from 25 studies on physical health benefits of nature, demonstrating the ways in which natural environments may have direct and positive impacts on wellbeing. Haluza et al. (2014: 5454), in their review of the medical literature on natural health, found that ‘[s]hort-term restorative effects of outdoor Nature could be found for almost all measured physiological parameters’. These tentative indications of nature’s restorative capacities have also been the focus of environmental psychology grasping individual perceptions and experiences of the healing and wellbeing benefits of the environment. This is exemplified in the work of Kaplan (1995), who frames the restorative capacities of nature through its role in focusing attention and integrally reducing stress.

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