Advances in medical imaging and measurement devices have fostered a surge in scientific research into the brain's response to nature - or its absence.
Portable EEG [electroencephalogram] devices track electrical activity in the brain and can illuminate those areas of the brain associated with cognitive effort and relaxation.
Similarly, methods and devices to measure our blood pressure, stress hormones such as cortisol, and heart rate variability are being used in the outdoors to track real-time changes in physical stress levels and relaxation responses.
As a result of these advances, researchers have been able to demonstrate, consistently, the physical benefits to be accrued through an appropriate level of connection with nature. Other researchers are demonstrating the improvement in cognition, memory, problem-solving and creativity through similar 'nature dosages'.
Elsewhere, researchers are quantifying what an appropriate dose of nature looks like, and how best to obtain it.
This growing body of research is adding to a trove of neuroscience which explains the manner in which our neurological perceptions of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste have evolved over millennia through exposure to nature, and how the development of these senses are being negatively impacted by a lack of appropriate natural stimuli.
Paralleled to brain-nature research, is the significant new work being undertaken globally in unlocking the world of the human gut - appropriately described as the 'second brain' . The relevance of this research with the brain-nature research cannot be understated. Afterall, the gut biome is a world of myriad species too, and represents a powerful force of nature within us.
Our resources page provides some links to further readings in these and other, exciting scientific discoveries. Take a moment to look at the brain on nature images to learn just a little about some of the fascinating scientific research underpinning our Wired for Nature workshops.