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NATURE AND HEALTH

Green health and well-being.

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Well-being from nature

The diversity and abundance of nature in Finland offers plenty of opportunities for business activities. The natural environment can be used to improve well-being in many different ways. It can serve to promote well-being tourism, sustainably built environments and personal health. Green care is a new business concept which offers services based on the natural environment and which aims to improve our general health and quality of life.

Recreation and care from nature

Green care is a new concept and form of business which creates service concepts based on the natural environment and which aims to improve our well-being and quality of life. Green care activities make use of the rural environment to provide care, rehabilitation and well-being services. Although these green care activities ostensibly stem from the rural environment, elements of nature can also be introduced into an urban environment.

Horse-assisted rehabilitation and therapy are good examples of green care, while green vitality is an idea which uses rehabilitation services to promote well-being at work.

The virtual network www.gcfinland.fi serves as a common forum which brings together those involved in the sector. Its purpose is to promote networking between individuals and the exchange of ideas and experiences, thereby promoting the development of novel concepts.

Green care services are not only directed at the social services, health, education and service sectors, but also at individual consumers. There are rehabilitation services for children and the young, the elderly, mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation patients, and the mentally disabled. The services can take the form of day-time activities, full-time care services or different kinds of training. There are also services utilising the natural environment which support the empowerment and recreation of individuals. To support the achievement of the customer’s objectives, green care services are always provided in a responsible manner by trained staff.

Business from nature

Product concepts based on the intangible values associated with nature offer new opportunities for business. For example, technology which exploits our sense of hearing, positioning information and social relations can bring natural values closer to people. Consumers seek new, meaningful experiences, which in turn offer the chance to transform landscapes and silence into product and service concepts. All of this has one goal in mind: improving people’s sustainable well-being and quality of life.

Nature affects us in many different ways. Observing nature and spending time outdoors improves your mood, calms you down, reduces stress and boosts your immunity system. It also increases the amount of exercise people do and its frequency. A holistic experience of a landscape can be based on:

1) physical pleasure (what the landscape looks and feels like);
2) social pleasure (the joy provided by the landscape in the social situation);
3) psychological pleasure (resolution of cognitive and emotional challenges);
4) ideological pleasure (the landscape is in harmony with the user’s values).

The increasingly hectic pace of life has also increased interest in silence and tranquility. A noisy and hectic environment requires silence and tranquility as a counterbalance. Therein lies great potential for attracting tourism, either as a special theme or as part of other tourism activities. The increasing popularity of this sector of tourism nevertheless requires new concepts, networking between entrepreneurs and the development of customer-oriented services.

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