Scientific American: Hospital gardens help us heal

A recent Scientific American article poses the question: Can gardens, in fact, promote healing? The answer: Yes! Scientists around the world are now digging into the data to find out why.

According to the article, though hospital gardens were “dismissed as peripheral to medical treatment for much of the 20th century,” they’re now back in style. And for good reason, says Clare Cooper Marcus, an emeritus professor in landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley:

Spending time interacting with nature in a well-designed garden won’t cure your cancer or heal a badly burned leg. But there is good evidence it can reduce your levels of pain and stress—and, by doing that, boost your immune system in ways that allow your own body and other treatments to help you heal.

A groundbreaking study, published in 1984 in the journal Science by environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich (now at Texas A&M University), demonstrated that gazing at a garden can sometimes speed healing from surgery, infections and other ailments. Since then, more studies have confirmed these findings—and have found the gardens not only for good for patients, but hospital employees too.

Want to know more? Click here to read How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal.

Want to see it in action? You only have to watch a minute or two of the YouTube video below, featuring Aidan Schwalbe, a three-year-old heart transplant recipient, enjoying himself in the Prouty Garden at the Children’s Hospital in Boston.