Nature is a masterpiece, a symphony of colors, sounds, and scents. There is no doubt that this beauty is fading over time. Isn’t it time to start making a difference in our environment? At Qatar university, we are increasing our efforts in implementing environmental physiotherapy in various ways. Here, we describe some simple, student-led activities to help raise awareness about the interaction between physiotherapy and our environment.

Planting for mental and physical health

Who doesn’t like plants? Every seed we plant declares the birth of a new hope, a fresh journey to harvest the fruits of our toil. Each sapling symbolizes growth and sustainability and have a positive impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing. Planting plays an essential role in enhancing mental health. When we cultivate, peace penetrates within us, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and providing a calming, nurturing environment (Thompson, 2018). What then about adding nature to our clinical health environments? The existence of plants in clinics is becoming more important nowadays due to their therapeutic effect. The presence of plants in the therapy setting can have a calming effect. It can reduce anxiety and improve mood states. These effects can positively affect resistance to diseases and chronic stress, which are essential for health and rehabilitation (Lee et al., 2015).

As part of the Qatar University Department of Rehabilitation Science Physiotherapy program, we participated in planting in the backyard of the university building. The activity was part of our effort to help spread awareness about the importance of planting to promote sustainability and environmental awareness. We are proud of our contribution to the university and hope to expand our community to spread the connection with nature into the world.

Furthermore, we have diverse plants that have created a beautiful and inviting entrance to our lab class. These plants inspire and energize us to welcome each new day. We benefit from being around plants, as they create a peaceful and calm environment. Planting is not just an action; it’s a powerful symbol of hope for a greener and more vibrant future for generations to come.



Recycling is a key practice in reducing waste and preserving our environment. By reusing materials, we can conserve natural resources and reduce waste sent to landfills. Recycling also helps to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (Palstam et al., 2022). What then is the relationship between recycling and physiotherapy? Physiotherapists can contribute to recycling efforts by adopting eco-friendly practices. This includes implementing paperless documentation systems to reduce paper consumption. Also, recycling bins can be placed in the clinic to encourage proper disposal of waste materials (Palstam et al., 2022). By incorporating recycling into our physiotherapy practices, we can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for our planet.

As part of the first-ever EPT Festival, we organized an exceptional event that showcased how physiotherapy interacts with the environment. The event consisted of four booths showcasing the four elements of nature: water, fire, air, and earth, and each booth was made using recycled materials. Each natural element plays an essential role in physiotherapy. Thus, the booths aimed to reflect these roles and illustrate how the elements are linked to physiotherapy. The water booth highlighted the high value of water in physiotherapy treatments such as aqua (hydro) therapy and the importance of taking care of the marine ecosystem. In contrast, the fire booth explained how, despite negative associations such as pain, fire plays a critical role in treatments such as cupping. Interestingly, fire helps portray many emotions. An emotional body map was displayed to help visualize people’s emotions and inspire them as they contributed to painting a flame on a canvas. Next, air is a critical factor in the rehabilitation process and air quality is fundamental for healing. A hopscotch game introduced to promote outdoor physical activity that is not harmful to the environment. People were also given the chance to measure their heart rate and blood pressure. Finally, the earth booth explained concepts including meditation and tactile stimulation emphasizing simply how if the land is clean, well-taken care of, and nutrient-rich, this enhances the healing process and all other factors involved in reaching optimal health.

Mais Alasmar

PT Student, Qatar University, Class of 2025

Mais is a physical therapy student at Qatar University. She has a great passion for reading and constantly acquiring knowledge. She is dedicated to her goal of becoming a paediatric physical therapist and is profoundly committed to making a positive impact on children’s lives.

Aiaa Hassan

Aiaa Hassan

PT Student, Qatar University, Class of 2026

Aiaa is a physical therapy student in Qatar University. She lives by her achievements and commitment. She is aiming to make a difference wherever she goes.

Noor Abu Helal

Noor Abu Helal

PT Student, Qatar University, Class of 2026

Noor is a dedicated second-year physiotherapy student at Qatar University, committed to incorporating a holistic approach into her clinical practice. She is passionate about continuous professional development.


Perhaps the relationship between the environment and physiotherapy is still a newly emerging concept for some. As students, we hope to expand our knowledge and skills on this topic, so our voices reach as large an audience as possible in the years to come, and so that we integrate nature into patient care with our future patients.


Lee, M., Lee, J., Park, B., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology34(1).

Palstam, A., Sehdev, S., Barna, S., Andersson, M., & Liebenberg, N. (2022). Sustainability in physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Orthopaedics and Trauma36(5), 279–283.

Thompson, R. (2018). Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening. Clinical Medicine, 18(3), 201–205.