Once nine cancer survivors started hiking the Cultus Lake area in Oregon together, they found the heaviness of their condition melt away with each step they took. These were not spontaneous hikes between long-term friends, though. It was a program crafted by a kinesiology professor from the University of Fraser Valley, to determine how effective nature was at reducing anxiety and depression. For this group, who repeated the hike twice per week for eight weeks, they found that hiking through the green woodlands dramatically reduced the anxious and depressive symptoms they so struggled with.

Dr. Duna Goswami, an Abbotsford physician was one of the nine hikers in the group. After surviving breast cancer the year before, she explains that, “having cancer is isolating, (and) even though you’re surrounded by people who want to help, it is nice to be with those who know what it is like, who understand.” She found that the hikes had helped her gain perspective, and allowed her to bond with others who intimately understood what she had gone through.

For a number of these survivors, their treatments included chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Oftentimes, this can cause a patient to look and feel very ill for long period of time afterwards. This makes it difficult for them to keep food down, and sometimes restricts them to a bed until they have enough energy to function again. Contrasting this with the hikes, which promote physical and emotional wellbeing, these nine survivors found it possible, once again, to regain control over the fitness of their bodies—allowing them to look and feel happier and healthier.

These hikes were conducted by lead researcher Dr. Iris Lesser. To determine the efficacy of the hikes, she asked each participant to rank their anxiety before and after each one. The results she found, by majority, was that the purposeful walks through the green woodlands in Oregon were therapeutically valuable due to the reduction in stress they produced for each participant.

Programs like this are desperately needed, according to local oncologists. Each of them had reported that, while cancer treatments are readily available, there is still a general lack of survivor care available for afterwards. Of course, since Dr. Lesser’s study has proven that treatments like these hikes are highly effective, she hopes that similar programs could be made available for survivors nationwide.

Our ketamine clinic offers ketamine infusions for patients struggling with severe depression and anxiety. We encourage our patients—with the consent of their primary care providers—to engage in such activities as hiking, which can enhance the positive outcomes of ketamine infusion therapy. We hope to see more “prescribed hiking” in the field of mental health care, moving forward.

Contact South Sound Health & Wellness

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or both, our ketamine clinic may also be able to help you. Located south of Peugeot Sound, near Tacoma and Olympia, WA, South Sound Health & Wellness is one of the leading ketamine treatment centers in Washington State. Request a free consultation via the brief form below and a member of our team will contact you shortly to answer any questions you may have about ketamine for depression and anxiety.