Pulse - July 2021 - 20

DEAR TABBY
What are Healing Gardens?
Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing
By Earl E. Bakken, Center for Spirituality & Healing, umn.edu
W
hy are some gardens called healing gardens, when
it seems as though all gardens (and nature) are
intrinsically appealing and beneficial to humans?
The term healing gardens is most often applied to green spaces
in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that specifically aim to
improve health outcomes. These gardens provide a place of refuge
and promote healing in patients, families, and staff. Any environment
can promote healing, but gardens are particularly able to
do so because humans are hard-wired to find nature engrossing
and soothing. According to two leaders in this field, Clare Cooper
Marcus and Marni Barnes, healing comes because the gardens promote
relief from symptoms, stress reduction and improvement in
overall sense of wellbeing and hopefulness.
Healing gardens differ somewhat from therapeutic landscapes,
which is another term used in healthcare. Therapeutic landscapes
or gardens are designed to meet the particular needs of a specific
patient population. They often engage that population actively and
deliberately. Healing gardens, on the other hand, generally aim for
a more passive involvement and are designed to provide benefits to
a diverse population with different needs.
Why is nature still important to humans? Regardless of age or
culture, humans find nature restorative. In one study, researchers
Marcus and Barnes found that more than two-thirds of people
choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed. In another
study, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after
spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious
to more calm and balanced.
Many studies show that after a stressful event, images of nature
very quickly produce a calming effect. Within three to four minutes
after viewing nature scenes, blood pressure, respiration rate,
brain activity, and the production of stress hormones all decrease
and mood improves. This again has an evolutionary advantage
because it allows us to recuperate and recover our energy quickly.
This ability to recover from stress quickly in order to be ready to
respond to new threats was important for our ancestors' survival.
Plants offer psychological comfort. As one researcher in this area,
Lewis, says " Plants take away some of the anxiety and tension of the
immediate now by showing us that there are long, enduring patterns
in life. " Their growth is steady and progressive, not erratic. While there
are various theories why nature is so helpful, there is no variance on the
outcomes. We know that viewing plants, flowers, water, and other nature
elements reduces patient anxiety, even if the patients are very anxious.
Nature can benefit everyone, not just those in hospitals. One
fascinating study reported that tenants in Chicago public housing
who had trees around their buildings reported knowing more
people, having stronger feelings of unity with neighbors, becoming
more concerned with helping and supporting each other, and having
stronger feelings of belonging than tenants in buildings without
trees. The findings also showed less violence in buildings with
tress than in those without trees.
20
What specific
benefits
do gardens
offer? Gardens
provide
psychological,
social,
physical,
emotional,
and spiritual
benefits to
humans. A
large part of this is because of the positive reactions humans have to
nature, so it is important for healing gardens to have lots of green
vegetation, flowers, and water elements.
Encourage exercise / This is important because, apart from the
physical benefits, even mild exercise elevates mood.
Provide distraction / Gardens offer a break from the hospital
environment and provide a variety of pleasant things to look at
and listen to. Humans naturally find nature interesting, so find it
easy to be engaged in a garden with the variety of colors, textures,
light, and sound.
Promote serenity and spiritual wellbeing / For many
people, being in nature and interacting with the natural world,
brings a sense of peace, tranquility, and feelings of connectedness -
with self, others and a higher power.
Encourage social interaction / Social support enhances
immune functions, promotes better moods, and produces better
treatment compliance. Gardens can encourage this interaction if they
are easily accessible to patients, families, and staff and offer groupings
of lightweight, moveable chairs.
Enhance a sense of control / We all need to feel that we
have choices about what we can do, but hospital effectively
removes much of that: we give up control over what we wear,
when we can eat and sleep, and our privacy. People in hospital are
generally physically less capable and their normal life, work, and
social support is disrupted. Gardens can enhance a sense of control
if they offer a variety of spaces to choose from-some private and
some open, some sunny, some shady, some with background
sounds, some without, and so forth.
In short / Gardens reduce stress and promote a sense of
wellbeing. This leads to measurable psychological, physiological,
and behavioral benefits, such as reduced anxiety, sadness, and other
negative moods, lower blood pressure and improved immune
functioning, and better compliance with treatment protocol. P
JULY 2021
PULSE
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Pulse - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - July 2021

Pulse - July 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools For Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From The SCVMA Office
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulse - July 2021
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - July 2021 - 1
Pulse - July 2021 - 2
Pulse - July 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - July 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - July 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - July 2021 - 7
Pulse - July 2021 - 8
Pulse - July 2021 - 9
Pulse - July 2021 - 10
Pulse - July 2021 - 11
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Pulse - July 2021 - 13
Pulse - July 2021 - 14
Pulse - July 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - July 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - July 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - July 2021 - Tools For Success
Pulse - July 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - July 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - July 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - July 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - July 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - July 2021 - Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Pulse - July 2021 - 26
Pulse - July 2021 - 27
Pulse - July 2021 - 28
Pulse - July 2021 - Resources
Pulse - July 2021 - Disease Table
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Pulse - July 2021 - From The SCVMA Office
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover3
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