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Forget The Pills! Doctor Prescribes The Outdoors To Improve Health

Spending time in nature is the side effect free way to be healthier and feel better

Prescribing a pill isn’t always the answer to making someone feel better and Dr. Greg Anderson has no problem letting his patients know that.

So what does Anderson do when a patient walks through the door?

This Washington doctor prescribes the outdoors for anyone he thinks could benefit from time outside.

He’s not just suggesting they go outside, either. Patients walk out of his office with a prescription for time outside just like they would if they needed medication.

He believes in it so much that he’s already written around 200 prescriptions.

“Science is catching up to what we’ve always known intuitively, being outside is good for you,” Anderson said from his office in Bellingham.

Dr. Anderson prescribes time outside to a familiar face

If someone thinks a prescription for the outdoors isn’t for them, there’s a strong chance they’d change their mind after spending some quality time outside.

Whose prescription is it anyway?

One of Dr. Anderson’s patients, Ryan Stiles of Whose Line Is It Anyway fame, is a firm believer in if a doctor prescribes the outdoors.

“For me, it’s just not being around people,” Stiles of his prescription to help his anxiety. “I get very tense when I’m around too many people.”

Stiles believes that Dr. Anderson handing out actual prescriptions makes a difference.

“If you have something in your hand that’s solid you feel like you’d better do it,” he said. “People love prescriptions these days. And it’s easy to fill.”

Along with anxiety, scientific research strongly shows that the outdoors can help with depression and lead to reduced rates of heart disease and cancer.

“I think if you could put the power of a park into a pill it would be a billion-dollar drug,” says Dr. Anderson.

“This prescription really gets to the root cause of a lot of the issues that we’re just symptomatically treating a lot of the time,” he continues. “I hope we’re at a tipping point where this becomes part of medical culture – to reach for the park prescription pad before we go for the pill prescription pad.”

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