Posted by healthcare | Posted in Healing and Health | Posted on 20-05-2013
Many people would associate the concept of healing gardens with hospitals, palliative and aged care facilities, as well as natural environments. It would seem though that more attention is warranted to the wider application of these principles in other places, after all the health benefits of natural environments on people are well documented. Focusing on your gardening tasks is the key to relieving stress and as such is the crux of therapeutic gardening! The digging, chopping, and hitting motions in many instances can relieve stress and tension. In some scenarios, people have been known to hit dummies, slam cushions or hit into thin air but therapeutic gardening releases stress. Strenuous activities also provides a good outlet for pent up aggression. It is true to say that strenuous activities are certainly not the only ways to relieve stress, something as simple as a walk around the garden may be just what the doctor ordered. When you take your walk, be sure to take in all the colours, fragrances and designs in the garden. You can also admire your gardening skills and this is sure to reverse the stress into a state of well being. And do not forget that the garden is never finished! There will always be something that needs doing, so do not be too critical if you see a few weeds in the border.
The potential for landscapes to become an important element in health care delivery payday loans may rest on the definition of the therapeutic garden, and its distinction from other garden types—healing, meditation, contemplation, and restorative. When differences are examined, it becomes clear that the complexities of and collaboration required for the design of therapeutic gardens demands a level of professionalism that is the rightful territory of the landscape architect. It is up to the individual landscape architect to identify the therapeutic role of nature and ensure that therapeutic gardens successfully compete with other uses of institutional space and money. Surely this area of study has even more relevance as a preventative treatment in today’s stress-filled world than ever before.
A casual survey of Australian suburbia suggests that the value of vegetation in landscape is under-recognised. Pavements, feature walls in bright colours, stack stone, render, ‘architectural plants’, turf, and of course hedging (still) dominate by far. The popularity of ‘outdoor rooms’, combined with the smaller yards and larger houses, means that private outdoor environments are commonly dominated by hard elements. The field of environmental psychology provides insights regarding the experience of restoration and specifically the restorative garden. Generally speaking, restoration describes a return to an ideal or normal state from a stressed or agitated one, or from boredom and/or an inability to focus. Restoration is measured by both self-reporting and objective physical measures. Environmental psychologists have identified four components essential for restorative environments: being away (i.e., physical or psychological escape), extent (i.e., connectedness and scope, sense of a whole other world), fascination (i.e., involvement), and compatibility (i.e., environmental support of intended activities). In a designer’s vocabulary, a restorative space may best be described as a coherent design in a “place away,” with gentle, undemanding stimuli where an individual can do what he/she needs in order to recover. As is the case with meditation and contemplation, these concepts can be variously interpreted and given physical form. Landscape architects frequently and intuitively meet the environmental psychologist’s criterion for restoration when designing. A well-designed garden in a health care setting may indeed be the ideal place to restore one’s equilibrium, effectively mitigating the often almost unbearable stress of illness and institutional environments.