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Ecotherapy – a nice term for what many may believe is just a fancy way of saying do cool stuff outside. Nothing could be further from the truth. Howard Clinebell, who wrote the book on ecotherapy in 1996, stated the term refers to healing and growth nurtured by healthy interaction with the earth. This therapy has become more mainstream as people spend more time indoors, and are looking for a way to manage stress, depression and whole host of other issues without the use of drugs or more traditional psychotherapy.

According to an article in Psychology Today, we crave being in nature. It’s in our makeup to want to be outdoors, immersed in the calming effect it brings to us. In today’s societal makeup, the ability to “unplug” is a rare gift – so rare there are entire vacation clubs dedicated to finding ways to unplug and get away. Nature is calming, and gives us a chance to simply be.

It’s Proven – We Need to be Outdoors

When Heroes on the Water first began kayak fishing experiences, we could see and feel first-hand the impact on our warriors. But we really didn’t know why or what was happening.

“Especially my kids noticed the positive residual effects of kayak fishing.”

Randy Hay is an active duty sergeant based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. And like many warriors, he strives to live a positive life in spite of bouts of anxiety and a diagnosis of PTSD. Looking for a way to gain some peace and perspective, Randy was intrigued by the posting he saw on the Northwest Kayak Anglers website, so he sent an email to Heroes on the Water asking about an upcoming event. He received an immediate response and signed up to go.Randy - My Encouraged Me

That was in April of 2014. It only took one event for Randy to be “hooked.”

“I was surprised at how accommodating everyone was. They were very organized, and very kind, welcoming everyone as they came in. “

Randy went on to say:

Written by Jonathan Mueller, Volunteer, HOW New Jersey Chapter

kayak fishing

Photo by Valary Dornfeld

There is something so peaceful about the water. The soft rocking of my kayak, like that of a baby’s cradle, soothing me, calming me. Nothing else matters at that moment, not the pressures of my job, not the weight of my bills. For the moment, I’m one with my kayak and my fishing rod. The rhythmic swell, coupled with my concentration on working the lure, has put me in a trance. My stress has melted away. All I can hear is the soft slapping of the water against the side of my kayak and some birds chirping in the distance. You know what I’m describing. That’s why you are holding this article. You’ve felt it too. And like me, you’ve tried to explain the feeling to many others. You have even gotten some friends to go out for a paddle with you and now they understand it as well.

Copyright 2014 Heroes On The Water