by Sarah Barker
Until recently, doctors encouraged patients to get more outdoor exercise but stopped short of writing a prescription. Soon, in collaboration with parks and trails organizations, community and athletic associations, some Minnesota doctors will be handing patients prescriptions for that dose of nature. “The data is there. We’re wired to be connected to nature,” said Dr. Brent Bauer of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “Cool things happen when you’re exposed to nature for two hours a week — inflammation is reduced, stress, anxiety, heart rate.”…“Will a walk in the woods cure hypertension? That’s a stretch,” Bauer said. “By itself, it’s not a magic wellness program. But it gives me another tool in adjunct with, not replacing, conventional treatment. At a typical wellness consult, we talk about exercise, nutrition, social connections, spirituality, sleep — lifestyle choices. People can transform their health, and maybe go from taking three pills to one. These kinds of lifestyle options are usually cheap, the patient is in charge — there’s almost no downside.”
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Context: Brent Bauer, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic internist. As director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, Dr. Bauer has broad and varied research interests. Since its founding in 2001, the program has promoted a collaborative spirit that enables researchers from both within and outside Mayo Clinic to share resources, ideas and expertise regarding research in this exciting realm.
Contact: Kelley Luckstein