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Natural Medicine: Rx For Nature Can Treat Health Problems

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Some doctors aren't just recommending patients get outdoors more, they're prescribing it.  Studies show spending time outside can actually treat health problems.

That's why Anna Munoz and her daughter Raquel take time out to stroll through one of Northern California's state parks several times a month. The time spent outside isn't simply for fun, it's doctor's orders. The prescription was written by Raquel's pediatrician to help relieve family stress.

"Take a walk, and have a simple conversation. Breath and enjoy," explained Anna.

Pediatrician Dr. Nooshin Razani says nature is "absolutely essential to human health."

Dr. Razani is among a growing number of physicians now prescribing time outdoors for patients.

"And there are actually ways to use nature to treat illness," explained Dr. Razani.

Research shows being sedentary or spending too much time indoors is tied to chronic diseases like obesity and depression. Experts say spending time in nature provides both physical and emotional benefits

"There are demonstrable differences in their biology," said Dr. Razani. "From decreases in blood pressure and pulse and other indicator of stress."

Anna says she can see a difference in her daughter and herself after their time outdoors.

"I connect with myself and with my freedom and that's helped me a lot."

Dr. Razani suggests children should spend at least one hour a day outside if possible and says parents should join them.

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