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Healthy Country Air

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A frequent excuse for a city mouse moving out to the country is health. The air is cleaner than in the city and the atmosphere is more relaxing, leading characters to move to see if their health can improve. People with asthma and other lung-based illnesses are especially prone to this.

There is a Truth in Television aspect to this. In the past, clean air was used for the treatment of several illnesses, most notably tuberculosis. Tuberculosis has been a part of humanity for almost as long as humanity has existed (bones from the Neolithic Era have been found with telltale signs of tuberculosis, and some disputed evidence suggests the disease may go back much further than that). For most of recorded history, the only treatments were giving people better food and moving them to a place where the air was considered better, which was usually out in the country somewhere. Ancient Greeks, for example, favored having the patient rest in groves of sacred trees, Scandinavians believed mountain air would aid in recovery, and 19th century America thought the dry climate of the western part of the country was better for the lungs. In settings where city air is highly polluted (smoky Victorian London or mid-70s Los Angeles, for example) it's entirely possible that leaving that pollution might improve one's health.

This might be a reason for From New York to Nowhere. Usually a treatment for Victorian Novel Disease - most often consumption (tuberculosis), Brain Fever or byssinosisnote  contracted in the big cities and the mills Oop North.

For when winds are explicitly shown to have healing properties, see Healing Winds.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden, Mrs. Okuda is suffering from tuberculosis at the beginning of the story. The family moves from Tokyo to Morioka, hoping that the mountain air would improve her health. The other students in Takiko's new class gossip constantly about it and the Okuda family takes great pains to keep Mrs. Okuda's illness a secret, for fear that the social stigma would jeopardize 17-year-old Takiko's marriageability.
  • This is a plot point in the backstory of Love Hina. Naru had asthma as a child and had been sent to the Hinata Inn for this reason. This is how she originally met and fell in love with Keitaro.
  • Uta No Prince Sama: The heroine Nanami's backstory involves this. She had an unspecified Soap Opera Disease and moved to the country to be with her grandmother for the sake of her health. As a result, she's very sheltered and doesn't know a lot about the idol industry.

    Comic Books 
  • Superboy: Conner Kent/Kon-El, the young clone of Superman has two moments as this: the first one invoked this trope in his own series by moving to Hawaii after the Reign of the Supermen arc to make a name by his own instead of being under the shadow of Superman. Later, this trope becomes straight after being part of the Teen Titans, moving to Smallville and living with the Kents to get mental stability, first before Infinite Crisis and later after being revived in Legion of 3 Worlds.

    Fan Works 
  • In Blind Courage, Impa and Ganondorf debate what weather is best for the chronically ill Zelda. Impa believes that the moderate climate of the forest is the best environment, while Ganondorf thinks that Zelda should live with him in the desert.
  • In The Not-So-Great and Powerful Escape, Trixie is left comatose after a Bungled Suicide. She is sent to recover in Ponyville because of its rural atmosphere.

    Film — Animation 
  • Arrietty has Sho. He was sent to the rural setting of the story due to needing an operation on his heart. The trope ultimately proves to be true given that the setting allows him to meet the titular character as well as abandon his You Can't Fight Fate attitude concerning life.
  • When Marnie Was There starts with Anna's mother sending her out to visit her aunt and uncle in the country for the summer. Her reasoning is that it could help with Anna's asthma.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • This was referenced in Casablanca.
    Louis: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
    Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
    Louis: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
    Rick: I was misinformed.
  • The Stewart family in Hannah Montana The Movie move back to Tennessee because Miley's dad believes she's grown an ego as Hannah. When Miley protests, her dad calls the vacation a "Hannah Detox".
  • Tombstone: Doc Holliday is mentioned to have come to Arizona in the hopes that the dry air would help with his tuberculosis. This was true of the Real Life Doc too.

  • A curious inversion happens in an urban legend about a group of children who all fell ill from staying in a holiday resort. The story posited that the kids, having grown up in a heavily polluted industrialized region, were so unused to "healthy country air" that they developed an allergic reaction to it. The whole purpose of the tale seems to be to make fun at the expense of the region, whichever it happens to be in a given telling.

  • In the "Meet Samantha" book of the American Girls Collection, Nellie moves from the Big Applesauce to the small town of Mount Bedford, New York because the tenement and factory work life in the city was making her sick, and her parents thought her health would improve if she instead worked in the country as a maid.
  • In Anna Karenina, Kitty's doctor urges her to leave Petersburg and travel through Europe to cure her mysterious illness.
  • Part of the reason Stacey from The Babysitters Club and her family move from the Big Applesauce to the small town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut is that her parents are hoping a quieter pace of life will keep her diabetes from acting up so much.
  • In Black Beauty, the titular horse had to run for the doctor when his mistress fell ill. The doctor prescribed moving to a warm country for two or three years. Since Black Beauty couldn't come with her, he was sold to a new owner.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hagrid claims that he took a semester off to travel because the fresh air was good for his health. Umbridge, unconvinced, quips that as groundskeeper fresh air must be hard to come by.
  • A 1899/1900 Polish novel Ludzie bezdomni offers a subversion. The protagonist is a doctor who arrives to work at a fancy countryside resort, only to discover the very presence of the facility alters the local environment to the point of it becoming actively harmful to human health, but there's too many interests already vested in the place and the problem is swept under the rug.
  • The Moving Finger: Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna move to the sleepy village of Lymstock to help Jerry recover after a plane crash. They soon get a poison pen letter accusing them of being lovers instead of siblings because they don't look alike.
  • In One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn, Rosie contracts the Spanish Flu and although she survives, the illness leaves her extremely thin and weak. On the advice of a doctor, her parents take her to a mountain resort for the summer so she will be strengthened by the sunshine and fresh air.
  • Several Sherlock Holmes stories start with Watson dragging a very reluctant Holmes out of London on medical grounds (usually overwork). Being Holmes, he always ends up involved in solving a criminal mystery anyway.
  • Anna from When Marnie Was There is sent to Norfolk for a few weeks to see the air can help her asthma.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper is the first-person narrative of a 19th-century woman who's on enforced bed rest in a country house for a summer to treat her "nervous depression" and "hysteria", up until she Goes Mad from the Isolation instead. Such diagnoses and "rest cures" were unfortunately common in the time period.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In El Chavo del ocho, Sr. Barriga, the owner of the neighborhood needed to sell it so he can move to Acapulco since his doctor stated his heart needed more oxygen. In the end, it turns out that he got his results mixed with someone else, so he doesn't sell the place.
  • In the theme song to Green Acres, Oliver sings that one of the benefits of living on a farm is the fresh air.

  • On the Threshold: Victorian physician Dr. Powell often prescribes this for his patients, including recently Escaped from the Lab Baron Erasmus Browne, which coincidentally gives Erasmus a reason to evade a murder investigation and gives Powell an excuse to go with him on a vacation. Considering that the alternative is the smog of Victorian London, there are certainly worse treatments.


    Video Games 
  • Call of the Sea: Norah makes repeated comments on how the fresh air on the island has made her feel much healthier than she had been since taking ill, to the point that she can even jog, whereas before she had to rely on a cane to even walk. It serves as a hint to Norah's connection to the island.
  • Wally from Pok√©mon Ruby and Sapphire has an unspecified illness that clears up when he moves in with his aunt and uncle in a more rural area.
  • Brought up late into Red Dead Redemption II. When Arthur Morgan gets tuberculosis, the Saint Denis doctor who diagnoses him suggests that he move to someplace very dry to mitigate the symptoms. Arthur says that he can't go someplace dry — the backstory saw Dutch van der Linde's gang getting chased out of West Elizabeth (a state with a dry environment like New Mexico and western Texas) after the failure of the Blackwater job, and much of the game's story sees them continuing to get pushed further east toward the more humid parts of the country.
  • Story of Seasons:

    Real Life 
  • In the early 20th Century, Tucson, Arizona grew into a city from a small town because it was believed that the hot, dry air there was good for treating tuberculosis.