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Special Issue "Nature-Based Therapies and Human Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Patrik Grahn

Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 88, 23053 Alnarp, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Landscape Architecture; Health Design; Public Health; Rehabilitation; Therapeutic Use of Natural Environments; Coping Resources
Co-Guest Editor
Prof. Lena Lidfors

Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O Box 234, SE-532 23 Skara, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Animal-Assisted Therapy; Anthrozoology; Therapy dogs; Cats in homes for elderly; Green Care farms; Equine Assisted Therapy
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Anna Maria Palsdottir

Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, P.O. Box 88, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Nature-based interventions including different kind of landscape such as forest, gardens, parks, agriculturla landscape, lakes/sea shores; Landscape Planning and Architecutre; Evidence Based Health Design; Public Health and Nature; Environmental Pscyhology; Urban Agriculture; Nature-based Integration and social interactions
Co-Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Ann Dolling

Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Forest and Health, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Wilderness Therapy and Forest Therapy; Forest Bathing; Forest planning; Human health; Nature Based Integration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Interventions aimed at strengthening human health have been used in natural environments since ancient time. From the beginning of the 20th century, they have included more and more varieties, such as horticultural therapy, nature therapy, garden therapy, wilderness therapy, ecotherapy, forest therapy, green care and animal assisted therapy. At the same time, these nature-based therapies (NBT) target more and more types of disability, ill health and diseases. As non-communicable diseases, such as psychiatric diagnoses, burnout, cardiovascular disease; and chronic diseases, such as dementia, ASD, asthma, body aches, COPD, etc. are increasing worldwide, interest in NBT are also increasing. This is because NBT appear to have a positive impact on these often hard-to-treat diseases, and without any serious side effects.

NBT contain many parts, such as choice of location, choice of team, choice of activities, etc. It is important for the continued development in the field that all these parts are carefully described. As interest increases, the demands for evidence-based development in the area increase. In this special issue, we invite researchers in health promoting interventions (e.g., public health, psychology, sociology, psychiatry, occupational therapy and physiotherapy), as well as experts in "nature" (e.g., biology, agriculture, veterinary medicine, ethology, horticulture, forestry, and landscape architecture) to deepen the research topic of NBT:

1)    Evidence. More well-designed studies are needed to prove that NBT work; and furthermore, for what types of diseases/ill health may NBT be the best choice.

2)    Theory. Theoretical explanatory models regarding how NBT can improve human health.

3)    Content. Description of the studied interventions: qualities of the site; team knowledge and education; selected activities; participants’ time in intervention.

4)    Best matching, between selected intervention and participants needs. This include: composition of team, choice of location, choice of activities, and length of intervention.

Prof. Dr. Patrik Grahn
Prof. Lena Lidfors
Dr. Anna Maria Palsdottir
Assoc. Prof. Ann Dolling
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Health promotion
  • Rehabilitation
  • Natural Environment
  • Nature Therapy
  • Horticultural Therapy
  • Green Care
  • Animal Assisted Therapy

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle The Tree Is My Anchor: A Pilot Study on the Treatment of BED through Nature-Based Therapy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112486
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
PDF Full-text (290 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Binge eating disorder (BED), characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating with a subjective experience of lack of control, is the world’s most common eating disorder. The aim of the present pilot study was to examine the feasibility of implementing nature-based therapy (NBT)
[...] Read more.
Binge eating disorder (BED), characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating with a subjective experience of lack of control, is the world’s most common eating disorder. The aim of the present pilot study was to examine the feasibility of implementing nature-based therapy (NBT) in the treatment of BED. The NBT intervention was compared to Support Group Meetings (SGMs), which are the only publicly available form of support for people diagnosed with BED in Denmark. Twenty participants with a BED diagnosis were included in the study, which had a mixed-methods design including Eating Disorder Examination interviews, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires measuring well-being (The Psychological General Well-Being Index) and self-esteem (Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale). Both the NBT and the SGMs showed positive results on all outcome measures (decreases in binge eating episodes and increases in general psychological well-being and self-esteem). The interviews indicated that the NBT context made the psychotherapeutic content more accessible to the participants and further helped them transfer the therapeutic gains to daily life after completing treatment. However, these results should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size—ideally, they would need to be tested on a larger, randomized sample. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Therapies and Human Health)
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