Recently, we took a quick look at some of the alternative herbal ADHD treatments available. This reminded me to write about another natural ADD treatment research finding that I have seen. A research study about ADHD in children published in August, 2008 concluded that reducing attention deficit symptoms in children was, literally, a walk in the park.
Can ADD Be Cured By Nature?
I have seen this study referenced in numerous places. This medical research into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is titled Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park on the National Institute of Health PubMed website. The study suggests that exposure to nature, or as the researchers like to term it, “doses of nature,” might actually help reduce the symptoms of ADD in children. If so, going for a walk might be a really great addition to the arsenal of ADHD tips and tricks.
It is important to note that this research was a very small, single-blind, experiment. Extrapolating its conclusions to the general population of attention deficit disorder people is a stretch. However, there are some interesting findings generated by the research which suggest a possible, free natural treatment for ADHD in children. Similar affects might be found in this natural treatment for ADHD for adults as well.
Researchers studied 17 children aged 7 to 12 years old, who were diagnosed with ADHD. Each child was exposed to three different environments. For each environment, each child was led on the same path for a 20-minute walk. The three environments were:
- a city park
- urban “park” with no trees or grass
- urban pedestrian area
Researchers note that both urban areas are “well-kept” which basically means that no one went for a walk through a dark alley or across a debris filled lot.
The effects on the children’s concentration after the walk through the park were “substantial.”
In fact, the researchers noted that the improvements in the ADHD scoring method used (Cohen’s) were in line with the improvements observed for taking methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin.
In other words, a walk in the park improved these particular children’s concentration just as well as taking a dose of Ritalin would.
Scientists noted that similar results were NOT seen after the walks in the urban park setting, implying that an open area is not the helpful factor, but rather the plants, grass, and trees in the city park. Jumping ahead, one can draw the conclusion that exposure to nature improves ADHD concentration symptoms in children with ADD.
If we’re going to jump that far ahead, we might as well jump all the way to the conclusion that being in nature helps people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, as much a prescription drugs. In fact, for concerned parents looking for a way to help their child’s ADD just enough to help improve their life with a natural ADHD treatment, this might be the first place to start.
Obviously, that is not a fully sound conclusion to take, but it does suggest an idea for personal testing. Try going for a walk in a nature area or park and seeing what, if any, affect it has on your ADHD symptoms. If you do try it, please drop by and share a comment.
To replicate what the researchers did, go for a 20-minute walk in an open area, preferably one with several trees and a natural ground. The park used in the study was grassy, so you can start there, but it might not be necessary.
Does nature seem to improve your ADHD? Have you ever tried going for a walk before a big test or important meeting as a way to improve your focus?