What comes to your mind when you think of a healing garden? Do you imagine a beautiful, green space full of plants and colourful flowers? That’s exactly what a healing garden is. In this article, we will understand how healing gardens provide a natural therapy.
But how is a healing garden different from a regular garden? A healing garden is designed to meet the needs of a specific patient group. That’s why healing gardens are often included in hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities.
Healing gardens are a place to promote healing in patients, families and staff. On the other hand, a regular garden is a place for recreation and relaxation for the general public.
In general, any garden setting has a calming effect on the mind, body and soul. A healing garden enhances these effects much better. Moreover, it reduces stress and improves well-being. While also acting as a distraction from negativity.
Usually, healing gardens are designed for a wide range of people with different needs. That’s why these gardens feature a variety of plants. Ultimately, the goal is to promote healing, peace and stress relief.
What’s interesting is that healing gardens have been around for centuries. Over the years, they have seen significant changes and improvements. And research has helped a lot in the process.
Studies show that just looking at plants can reduce stress, blood pressure and brain activity. Based on this concept, healing gardens improve mood while promoting physical and mental well-being.
Where can I find a Healing garden?
Generally, many healthcare facilities include a healing garden on-premise to treat patients. Such as care facilities, clinics, hospitals, retirement homes and even in botanical gardens.
For centuries, healing gardens have been part of healthcare facilities and hospitals. These gardens gave the patients, family and staff a place to relax and destress.
As a result, recovery became faster and hospital stays were shortened. Making it a win-win for both the patients and the healthcare facility.
For people recovering from cancer or a stroke, gardens are vital for healing. All the digging and planting is a good exercise for your body. In fact, it is a serious workout without hitting the gym. As a result, you could build muscles and improve hand strength.
Besides burning calories, it also helps improve mental health. Such as reduced stress levels, anxiety and depression. Studies show that gardening lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. This in turn reduces the risk of a heart attack.
How does a healing garden stimulate your senses?
A healing garden may take many forms. They try to stimulate your senses in unique ways. Visually, plants brighten up the environment with their colourful leaves and flowers. The bright colours demand attention while cool colours provide relaxation.
Likewise, the sound of birds and animals, the wind rushing past the leaves and water features stimulate your ears. Whereas, the aromas of fresh flowers, blooms, fruits and herbs breathes new life into us.
What’s more, the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden are rewards for your taste buds. Lastly, the variety of plant textures will build curiosity in your mind. In fact, the gardening process is more healing than the rewards.
You could also create your own little healing garden in your backyard. Just start with planting some flowers, herbs or vegetables. Or you could try vertical gardening if you have limited space. Here’s a vertical garden for beginners to get started:
Features of a Healing garden
Plants, flowers and water features are the most vital features of a healing garden. They usually feature a wide range of plants that provoke positive vibes. Different colours, textures and aromas promote different feelings. After all, these elements stimulate our senses.
Generally, healing gardens avoid statues, sculptures and abstract art. As they lack the healing benefits of nature. Sometimes, participants may perceive it in negative ways. And they take the attention away from nature. However, it’s alright to add natural ornamentals like a stone fountain or wooden wind chime like this:
Another important aspect is that healing gardens should be in areas isolated from city noises and pollution. For instance, a nearby construction site could ruin the experience of a healing garden. Besides, such gardens are best suited away from the big cities. Naturally, healing gardens are strictly non-smoking areas.
Often, healing gardens use soft subtle colours and textures to create a calming effect for visitors. That’s why the bright and warm colours are avoided in such gardens. Instead of artificial objects, they focus on natural elements like stone or wood.
A healing garden must have enough seating areas for visitors. And trees should shade such areas from the day’s heat. The garden should have more than just aesthetics or fragrance. Textured plants like ferns and ornamental grasses are soothing to touch.
How is a healing garden designed?
In many ways, designing a healing garden resembles the healing and recovery process. Both take time to complete. And it is this journey with nature that provides healing to the mind, body and soul. With a few design elements, a garden can be turned into a place for healing.
Here are some of the ways healing gardens are designed:
- Planning the overall layout of the healing garden is vital. Everything from plants and trees to seating areas and design elements should be given a spot in the garden. And this is done in a way that creates harmony and peace.
- Selecting the plants that have a pleasing aura. Usually, warm and bright colours draw attention while the cool colours have a calming effect. Its crucial to get the right combination of both.
- A healing garden must feature a wide range of aromas. That’s why they often include flowers, herbs and fragrant plants. In fact, these plants are harvested and used in aromatherapy.
- Seating areas are equally important in a healing garden. After all, it is a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
- Creating curved paths for walking through the garden add an element of surprise. In turn, this sparks curiosity in visitors.
- Generally, gardens are surrounded by large trees or hedges to make them a secluded retreat from the outside world.
- There should be a focal point such as an interesting plant or a natural water feature.
- Attract local wildlife such as birds, insects and small animals by placing birdfeeders. Adding plants that provide nectar or food also helps.
Healing power of nature
For thousands of years, plants have provided us food and shelter. Indeed, we share an ancient bond with nature. To this day, we use nature’s healing powers for relaxation. Studies show that a natural setting helps people destress and improve mood.
But what makes nature restorative? Researchers believe that it is hardwired in our genes. We tend to respond positively to nature as we have evolved with it.
Over the years, our ancestors helped build a link with nature. And it is this link that helped them survive. Hence, the tendency to find nature restorative lived on in those genes and passed on through generations.
Research proves that nature helps reduce stress, brain activity, blood pressure and breathing rate. While also improving mood by releasing feel good hormones like dopamine. As a result, nature breathes life into us.
What’s more, nature helps us build spirituality. That’s why many religious places are surrounded by plants and green spaces. Nature gives us a space where we can connect spiritually with ourselves and the world. Nature helps us connect with other living beings like birds, butterflies and small animals.
Health Benefits of Healing gardens
Healing gardens have physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual benefits. And most of these benefits are due to nature’s healing powers. That’s why healing gardens have lots of plants, flowers and other natural elements.
Here are some of the health benefits of healing gardens:
Healing gardens encourage exercise
Gardening activities have more benefits than simply visiting a garden. In fact, tasks like digging, weeding and planting is a great workout. So, you could build muscles and hand strength while you enjoy nature’s beauty.
Studies show that even a mild exercise improves mood. Gardens are a great place to do all kinds of exercise like yoga or running. It’s the environment that motivates people to exercise.
Distraction from negativity
Being in a garden takes your attention away from stressful negative thoughts. Nature gives you a variety of pleasant sights, sounds, textures and aromas. Indeed, a great way to stimulate your senses.
Often, healthcare facilities have gardens to provide patients a place to escape from the depressing environment of a hospital. Since we’re hardwired to find nature restorative, it’s easy to be lost in nature by admiring the finer details.
A healing garden can help improve your physical and mental well-being. Especially because nature provokes peace through its magical beauty. Moreover, spending time in a garden reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Being surrounded by nature calms your mind from the hustle and bustle of cities. A great way to refresh your mind from mental fatigue.
Gardens are a great place to socialize with friends, family and society. Social support enhances quality of life. Besides, we can always count on friends and family in times of crisis. Hence, gardens play a huge role in encouraging interactions among people.
Healing gardens can help improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. They are often included in healthcare facilities to provide therapy. Moreover, a garden stimulates our senses and improve mood. Especially through its various textures, sounds and aromas.
I hope you enjoyed this article. When was the last time you visited a healing garden? What was the most amazing feature you have seen? Let me know in the comments section below.
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