Yep, you read that right. Canadian doctors will soon be able to prescribe trips to national parks for patients in need of a dose of the great outdoors.
Say goodbye to your conventional medications and treatments (well, maybe not…) and hello to some fresh air, beautiful wilderness, and the chirping of birds because your new prescription is a trip to a national park.
The new initiative is called PaRX, and it was recognised by the British Columbia (BC) Parks Foundation, a Canadian community organisation that aims to protect BC parks.
Health professionals who sign up for the programme can offer patients a free Parks Canada Discovery Pass which would otherwise cost CAN$72 (AUD$78.45) per year.
Doctors will generally recommend that patients spend two hours per week in one of the parks.
The philosophy behind the PaRX program is that access to nature can have benefits for people both physically and mentally.
Some of the benefits include reducing stress and high blood pressure to cleansing your lungs and boosting life expectancy. The open-air seems to be an antidote to pretty much anything.
But don’t think that this is just limited to adults: kids can also benefit with better fitness and lower rates of asthma and depression.
Within Canada, the scheme is currently available in the provinces of BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, though it’s expected to include all Canadian provinces and territories.
Now let’s hope Aussie medical professionals take note because we’d love a prescribed visit to one of Australia’s beautiful national parks.