Therapeutic and healing gardens are being built in various healthcare settings to benefit patient recovery. Hospitals especially are using a patient-centered approach to improve the recovery time of patients.
The gardens help decrease the length of inpatient stays. Stress reducing and therapeutic gardens are considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
The gardens are helpful because as the psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm suggested there is, “an innate bond between humans and nature.”
Healing gardens are designed to offer an environment supportive of patients, staff, and visitors. Healing gardens feature green vegetation and water elements.
They are usually free of man-made structures in order to be as calming as possible. However, water features are sometimes installed to provide soothing sounds. Flowers and plants that attract birds and butterflies are planted in order to bring wildlife into the gardens as well.
Therapeutic gardens are slightly different in that they are aimed at specific patient conditions. These types of gardens are meant to engage and support recovery through different landscape design elements. They include activity spaces for walking or gardening or raised garden beds.
Therapeutic gardens are being installed in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior care facilities, and chemotherapy treatment facilities. Activities like observation, listening, strolling, sitting and exploring the natural spaces offer patients stress relief.
Therapeutic and healing gardens are both shown to offer psychological, social, and physical benefits to patients by providing a positive distraction from their treatments or conditions.
Research shows these natural spaces give opportunities for the relief of physical symptoms. They also allow for stress reduction and an improvement in a patient’s sense of well-being.
Dr. Roger S. Ulrich showed in lab research that, “visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes.” This is shown by changes in a patient’s blood pressure and a relief of tension in their muscles.
Sydney landscaping expert, James Collins suggests, “Therapeutic and healing gardens must both be designed with patient needs in mind. There must be ample wheelchair space and the garden must be easy to navigate.”
Greenery is the heart of the design for both types of gardens and hardscapes are kept at a minimum to reduce stress. Therapeutic gardens will tend to have more defined spaces designed for specific patient conditions.
Facilities with these gardens often provide scheduled activities like horticultural therapy. These activities allow patients to interact with the garden instead of just being observers.
Many hospitals in Australia are embracing the concept of healing and therapeutic gardens. The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne is an excellent example.
The hospital was designed with many gardens, playgrounds, and other natural landscape areas. These gardens are a trend toward a more natural approach to healing patients.
For more information on healing garden landscaping in Sydney, you can visit the official Google+ page for NBG Landscapes here: https://goo.gl/R6yzWz
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