Nature and Pain Relief

Can nature provide us a natural form of pain relief?

Nature has so much more to offer than just something nice to look at. Pain relief is just one small aspect of the vast benefits nature has to offer us! For example, research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, focused on the effects of forest therapy on participants struggling with chronic widespread pain (Han, J. W., Choi, H., Jeon, Y. H., Yoon, C. H., Woo, J. M., & Kim, W., 2016). Forest therapy aims to reduce pain through specific physical activities and psychological approaches which take place in a natural environment. The participants in this study engaged in bodily exercises and mindfulness-based meditation in a forest while measuring physiological changes. The results showed that forest therapy was effective in improving the psychological and physiological symptoms associated with chronic widespread pain. This raises the question of whether there may be other ways that nature can provide us with pain relief.

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Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium Connects Community Members and Nature

Humans in Nature strives to combine applied research within outreach efforts to connect individuals of all ages to the natural environment. We wanted to hear from other organizations and communities on how they connect with others and develop a relationship surrounding nature. We interviewed Krystyna Meyer at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL, to hear more about what she does for the Shedd Aquarium and how that might impact her surrounding community.

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Ways to Stay Productive in Ramadan Involving Nature.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is one of the holiest months for Muslims. Within this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 29/30 days. The Islamic Calendar follows the moon in which the commencement of each month is identified by the birth of a new moon/ lunar cycle. There are two ways to “sight” the moon, actual moon sighting or going based off of calculations. There is major controversy on which one to use however, Islam is all about unity and puts emphasis on the fact that a person should follow the way of the community. Here in Champaign-Urbana, the local mosque, Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center (CIMIC) follows calculations in which all the Muslims on campus and in the area follow. 

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Nature Practice: Week 2

Sam Iwinski

This week, my partner and I decided to finally clean up our backyard. To give some context, our backyard becomes very muddy and wet when it rains, snow melts, or if our dog digs (which is now a usual occurrence). We decided to cover some holes, lay down a tarp, and clean up our deck for more optimal seating. After we did this, we were able to feel more comfortable using our backyard and relax with some tiki torches and the trees’ sounds. My dog may still get extremely muddy when in the backyard, but now I feel like we have a calmer and more organized place to sit and relax. I always loved hanging out in my backyard as a kid, so it is very important to me to have this outdoor space to explore and grow.

Brendan Murney


To kick off the week, I had a busy schedule which stressed me out. I had to take care of volleyball administrative duties as well as schoolwork. Around 7 p.m. I went for a walk while listening to music. It has become sort of a routine for me to get outside and walk in order to destress and get back into a positive mindset.


To start off my morning, I showered and then had an exam to take in one of my classes. The exam went well and then I went for a bike ride around campus. I stopped near the South Quad and sat on a bench under the Bell Tower and enjoyed the sight of the purple flowers on either side of me.


I just got back home after sitting in the grass of the Main Quad for a couple hours while getting some homework done and watching lectures. I think I might have gotten a little sunburnt under my eyes which makes me happy. Although sunburn is not always fun, I feel happy about it because the weather is getting much nicer.

Adrianna Glisen

This week was very warm, so although I was suffering from a terrible cold, I went on a walk to the quad and spent some time sitting on the bench in front of the English building. Having graduated in December, I haven’t spent much time on the quad, and it was so nice to sit down and take in the scene and fresh air again.

Andrea Blood

This week we finally got some nicer weather which made going outside a much more pleasant experience. I took advantage of the weather by taking a walk around the quad and other parts of campus with some friends and ended the excursion off by grabbing some bubble tea. It felt nice to leave my bulky winter coat, hat, and gloves at home for once and I’m hoping that’s something I get to do a lot more as spring gets closer and closer. I didn’t realize exactly how much I missed being able to comfortably walk outside and it felt like I was able to take in nature in a way I really hadn’t since winter started. When the sun is out I can physically feel my mood lighten and I just had more motivation to get work done. Although the weather was by no means hot, it did kickstart my excitement for summer and all the outdoor activities that come with warmer weather (and not to mention a break from schoolwork).