Mother Nature’s Medicine

Reflection gazing in Windjana Gorge National Park. Photo: L-A Shibish

From the University of Michigan to Japan’s national health program, studies are showing that time spent in nature directly correlates with people living longer, happier lives.

WA Parks Foundation Ambassador Professor Lyn Beazley AO said just being in nature has many benefits.

“The positive endorphins your body produces while exercising, or because you are away from your computer screen, or simply because you were distracted from life’s challenges for a fleeting moment – we can all gain both physically and mentally from connecting with our natural environment,” she said.

“We are lucky to have amazing parks throughout WA that give people the chance to explore, to make discoveries for themselves and to appreciate the natural world.

“For all these reasons, it is vital to make nature more accessible to our community and help our parks flourish now and into the future.”

Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC, Governor of Western Australia and Chair of the WA Parks Foundation said healthy parks are an essential ingredient for healthy people.

Appreciating Paperbark trees in Millstream National Park. Photo: Colin Ingram

“The benefits associated with engaging with our natural surroundings extend beyond the amazing health benefits, to the positive social and cultural effects that can be attributed to connecting with nature,” Her Excellency said.

“The protection, conservation and improvement of parks increases our sense of connection with our country and community, and can provide a common bond for people from all walks of life.”

Fact file:

  • Some health benefits from being in nature include:
    • Increase in health, happiness and wellbeing
    • Improved short term memory
    • Exposure to forests boosts our immune system (forest bathing).
    • Lowers depression
  • In Japanese culture Forest bathing is a part of their national health program, which is just being in the presence of trees and their natural surroundings.


(Sources: .

Psychological Science, 2008Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013