YuUnless one succeeds in avoiding the Internet, commercial television, and so on Billboards everywhere Tess Dalyone of the hallmarks of 21st century culture will become clear to readers: the rampant monetization of what has come to be known as “wellness” (capitalism always needs a new science), a global industry worth 1.5 trillion dollars And it’s growing at 5% to 10% annually.
Health care and well-being as big business is, of course, nothing new, whether it is useless quackery or a legitimate scientific breakthrough. from “Miracle curesFrom the early twentieth century to cigarettes They are marketed as health products; From the synthesis of chlorpromazine in the 1950s, revolutionizing psychiatryto change the game Antiretroviral therapies to HIV. We’ve had leeches and we’ve had Jane Fonda workout tapes from the ’80s, but we’ve also had penicillin and organ transplants. However, Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t until late 2010 She started placing jade eggs over her vagina And “Semen face“It became a thing. Which rather took it to another level.
But this month, One Finnish study Join a growing body of evidence advocating a back to basics approach when it comes to well-being (i.e. no jade eggs in the vagina). Researchers have found that access to green spaces in urban areas is associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, asthma and high blood pressure.
Working on the basis that taking prescription medications was a reasonable predictor of poor health, people who visited green spaces or blue spaces (bodies of water) three to four times a week were 33% less likely to take mental health medications; 36% less likely to take blood pressure medication; And 26% less likely to take asthma medication. (The study did not assess whether increased access to green or blue spaces led to a small increase in participants’ health measured otherwise.)
The theory that access to nature is beneficial has a long history — have you ever met a hysterical woman or coughing old man in literature who wasn’t sent to take in the mountain air? —but, perhaps as a reaction to more external wellness, increasingly shattered healthcare systems and technology saturation, health has returned. interest inBathing in the woods(Taking a jungle tour for people who aren’t Instagram influencers, f Shinrin Yoko To old fans in japan) and boom in Swimming in open and cold water Are strong indicators, as well as the great popularity of local events such as parkron.
Unfortunately, a decade of austerity and privatization in the UK has reduced access to such spaces, Especially for the poor in society, who actually had worse health outcomes. Fields in Trust, a charity that buys green spaces to protect them forever, It was found that 2.8 million people In the UK it is more than a 10 minute walk to a public green. In the six years up to 2012, UK 54,000 acres of green space were lost, mostly for housing. There is a desperate and catastrophic housing shortage in this country, but one doubts it Leather 215 school playground between 2010 and 2019, when the NHS calculated that around 2016 30% of people aged 2 to 15 in England are overweight or obeseis not the ideal solution.
The decrease in access to these spaces contrasts with the increase in social prescriptionswhich can include general practitioners and specialist workers who refer patients to gardening clubs (a practice that has Both supporters and detractors). However, for gardening to be prescribed, gardens must be present.
However, local communities are resisting access denial. this year, Funding has been allocated to a number of lidos To reopen after an effective campaign. People who are underrepresented in some communities and entertainment venues (often due to discrimination) come together and forming groups to ensure that this is no longer the case.
There is an argument that social prescriptions are a distraction from the apocalyptic truth 7 million people in England are waiting for NHS treatmentAnd I’m certainly not advocating cutting out prescription medications (which I personally feel benefit from, as do many others). It is true that our understanding of the effectiveness of certain medications is constantly evolving, particularly in psychiatry. But getting rid of severe depression or anxiety by avoiding clinically proven medications and taking a nice walk isn’t the end goal here. I say this as a professional cold water swimmer (how do you know someone is going for a cold water swim? They will tell you).
There’s obviously a fine line between saying a brisk walk will do one good and believing that positive thinking and a dip will cure everything, but as with most things in life, it’s a combination. As the pandemic taught usWe should cherish natural spaces for reasons of health and social cohesion. In the language of the Internet, we should allGo touch the grass“.