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Cornell researchers find nature can actually reduce pain if you let it

Hiking trail through trees
Chris Bolt/Syracuse Public Media
Clark Reservation near Syracuse can be a sanctuary that could improve your health and well-being, according to research from Cornell University

Do you feel better when you take a stroll through a forest or walk along the shores of a lake? Now there's research from Cornell University in Ithaca to suggest that spending time in nature actually can reduce inflammation.

Past studies have shown that walking in forests for at least 15 minutes can reduce stress-inducing cortisol and lower blood pressure. Cornell Professor of Psychology Anthony Ong, along with Postdoctoral researcher Dakota Cintron and Gabriel Fuligni found certain biomarkers of inflammation were also reduced. The effect was most prominent when people not only spent time in nature, but also avoided distractions so they could enjoy it.

Ong said the results could benefit people with pain associated with chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

Their findings are published in “Engagement With Nature and Proinflammatory Biology,” which was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.