Park Rx America Featured in CostCo Magazine!

Park Rx America Featured in CostCo Magazine!

Nature's nurture

by Wendy Helfenbaum

Walking, hiking, swimming and cycling all provide physical benefits. But did you know that simply spending time outdoors - no matter where you live - can also have a huge impact on your overall well-being? We gathered expert insights and tips to help you reap the benefits of health-building nature experiences.

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Nature: No App Required

Nature: No App Required

New Video Released by the Healthy US Collaborative Featuring Dr. Zarr

Commissioned by the TakeCare campaign | Directors: Jonathan Halperin, Mark Mannucci | Producer: Elizabeth Westrate

An otherwise healthy 15-year-old girl goes to the ER with chest pain and crushing headaches. The cause? Stress. Her prescription: 60-minutes outside, no electronics, every week.

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Park Rx America Featured in Outside Magazine!

Park Rx America Featured in Outside Magazine!

Science's Newest Miracle Drug is Free!

By Aaron Reuben

Doctor's have been encouraging their patients to go outside for millennia. Hippocrates called walking "man's best medecine." Han dynasty physicians encouraged outdoor "frolicking exercises" to ward off aging. And until the mid-1940s, tuberculosis patients were sent to mountain retreats to take in the "magic airs".

What's happening now is different. It's widespread, systematic, and, at least in aspiration, evidence based. Though boutique wilderness treatments for trauma and some behavioral disorders have existed for years, the idea that your primary-care physician, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or cardiologist might prescribe a park before a pill is quite new.

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Park Rx America Featured in TIME Magazine!

Park Rx America Featured in TIME Magazine!

A prescription you can't fill at the pharmacy

By Jamie Ducharme

Dr. Robert Zarr, a pediatrician in Washington, D.C., often prescribes therapies that don't come in a bottle or a pill pack. They're redeemable only outdoors, in the fresh air of a local park. These "nature prescriptions" - spend an hour each week playing tennis, for instance, or explore all the soccer fields near your home - might sound whimsical. But Zarr is serious about his scripts, which are recorded in his patients' electronic health records.

"The paradigm shift in the way we think about parks: not just as a place to recreate, but literally as a prescription, a place to improve your health," says Zarr, who writes up to 10 park prescriptions per day. In 2017 he founded Park Rx America to make it easier for more health professionals to write park prescriptions for patients of all ages, particularly those with obesity, mental-health issues, or chronic conditions like hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.

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NBC News: A dose of nature: doctors prescribe a day in the park for anxietyPark Rx America Featured on NBC's Nightly News!

A dose of nature: doctors prescribe a day in the park for anxiety

by Shamard Charles, MD

For many patients, like Lauren Huddle, 31, a big dose of Mother Nature is exactly what she needs after a stressful day.

"I have pretty bad anxiety and depression," said Huddle of Bellingham, Washington. "And I don't do well with pharmaceuticals, so my husband Nate would actually tell me all the time, 'just go outside, you'll feel so much better.'"

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Nature & Health Videos

Recommended Reading

Resilience: Connecting with Nature in a Time of Crisis
The Nature Fix
Last Child in the Woods
Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness
Nature Principle
Biophilia Hypothesis
Therapeutic Landscapes
Blue Mind
Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing
Little Book Lykke
Truth About Food
Nature Rx: Improving College-Student Mental Health
The Outdoor Adventurer's Guide to Forest Bathing: Using Shinrin-Yoku to Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Climb Your Way to Health and Happiness
Green Infrastructure and Public Health

In the News...

Your next doctor's prescription might be to spend time in nature

Your next doctor's prescription might be to spend time in nature
by Michael Precker, American Heart Association News
Photo: Tom Werner/DigitalVision, Getty Images

Doctor's orders: 'Nature prescriptions' see rise amid pandemic

Doctor's orders: 'Nature prescriptions' see rise amid pandemic
by Carey L. Biron, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Medical Providers Are Taking Nature Therapy Seriously

Medical Providers Are Taking Nature Therapy Seriously
by Jenifer Frank
Photo: Melanie Stengel

NatureRx@UMD: A Review for Pursuing Green Space as a Health and Wellness Resource for the Body, Mind and Soul

NatureRx@UMD: A Review for Pursuing Green Space as a Health and Wellness Resource for the Body, Mind and Soul
by Jennifer D. Roberts, DrPH, MPH, Micaela S.D. Ada, BS, Shannon L. Jette, PhD

Nature Prescriptions for Health: A Review of Evidence and Research Opportunities

Nature Prescriptions for Health: A Review of Evidence and Research Opportunities
by Michelle C. Kondo, Kehinde O. Oyekanmi, Allison Gibson, Eugenia C. South, Jason Bocarro and J. Aaron Hipp

The Therapeutic Power of Gardening

The Therapeutic Power of Gardening
By Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
Photo: The New Yorker


NEW! Prescribing Nature to Get People Moving Outside
More to Live Podcast Series, with Dr. Amy Bantham, Dr. Robert Zarr

Nature Can Help Depression and Raise Your Self Esteem
The Future is Healthy, with Dr. Stacy Beller Stryer, By Medicine Explained, LLC.

The Last Sound
with Bernie Krause on WAMU, Invisibilia Series

Prescribing Parks as Medicine for a Happier, Healthier Life (Coronavirus COVID-19 Series)
with Dr. Stacy Beller Stryer

The Doctors Prescribing Nature
Outside Podcast

Bringing Health and Nature to the Public Realm
With Stella Tarnay, Tamberly Conway, Robert Zarr MD and John Henderson


A systematic review of existing observational tools to measure the food and physical activity environment in schools - Hannah G. Lane; Hannah G. Calvert; Rachel Deitch; Ryan Harris; Oyinlola T. Babatunde; Lindsey Turner; Erin R. Hager; Stephanie Jilcott Pitts Science Direct, Elsevier, November 2020

Health impact assessment of Philadelphia's 2025 tree canopy cover goals - Michelle Kondo; Natalie Mueller; Dexter Locke; Lara Roman; David Rojas-Rueda; Leah Schinasi; Mireia Gascon; Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, Scientific Journal (JRNL) 2020

The Effect of Green Walking on Heart Rate Variability: A Pilot Crossover Study - Junia N. de Brito, Zachary C.Pope, Nathan R.Mitchell, Ingrid E.Schneider, Jean M.Larson, Teresa H.Horton, Mark A.Pereira, Elsevier, March 2020

National Association of State Park Directors - Health and Nature Program Partnership Toolkit - NC State Univeristy | Health & Technology Partners, LLC, March 2020

A historical and critical analysis of park prescriptions - J. Joy James, Richard W. Christiana & Rebecca A. Battista, Journal of Leisure Research, June 2019

Clinic and park partnerships for childhood resilience: A prospective study of park prescriptions - Nooshin Razani, Kian Niknam, Nancy M.Wells, Doug Thompson, Nancy K.Hills, Gail Kennedy, Rachel Gilgoff, George W. Rutherford, Health & Place, Elsevier, May 2019


A dose of nature: Tree cover, stress reduction, and gender differences - Bin Jiang, William Sullivan, Chun-Yen Chang, Landscape and Urban Planning, Elsevier, August 2014

Residential Green Space in Childhood is Associated with Lower Risk of Psychiatric Disorders from Adolescence into Adulthood. - Engemann et al. 2019, Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (USA)

Factors Associated With Changes In Subjective Well-Being Immediately After Urban Park Visit - Hon K. Yuen & Gavin R. Jenkins, International Journal of Environmental Health Research

Building Healthy Community Environments: A Public Health Approach - Kirsten Koehler, PhD, Megan Latshaw, PhD, Thomas Matte, MD, MPH, Daniel Kass, MSPH, Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, Mary Fox, PhD, Benjamin F. Hobbs, PhD, Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD, Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH, Public Health Report

Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature - APHA

The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer - Donovan, Geoffrey H.; Butry, David T.; Michael, Yvonne L.; Prestemon, Jeffrey P.; Liebhold, Andrew M.; Gatziolis, Demetrios; Mao, Megan Y. 2013, American Journal of Preventative Medicine

Effect of Park Prescriptions with and without Group Visits to Parks on Stress Reduction in Low-Income Parents: SHINE Randomized Trial - Nooshin Razani, Saam Morshed, Michael A. Kohn, Nancy M. Wells, Doug Thompson, Maoya Alqassari, Amaka Agodi, George W. Rutherford, Plos One

Shifting Gears: Engaging Nurse Practitioners in Prescribing Time Outdoors - Lois A. Wessel, MS, FNP-BC, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners

What About the Trees? Trees as Nature-Based "Shade Sails" - American Public Health Association

Park Prescription (DC Park Rx): A New Strategy to Combat Chronic Disease in Children, 2017 - Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Environmental Health Perspectives, 2015 - NIH

Prescribing Parks for Better Health SUCCESS STORIES - NRPA


In a world turning upside down, turning inside out can be a good thing
By Stacy Beller Stryer, MD, Park Rx America

"WHY I PRESCRIBE NATURE" - In D.C., Pioneering Pediatricians Offer New Hope and Health Through Park Rx
By Robert Zarr, MD, Park Rx America

Pediatrician, Parks Improve Child Health
By Mary Sebold, Sebold Communications


Park Rx America: Doctors prescribing parks to prevent and treat chronic disease [36MB]
Robert Zarr, MD, MPH, Park Rx Director, Unity Health Care, Inc., National Park Rx Advisor, National Park Service

Article Archives

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