Healing gardens

garden in hospitalWhy 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:

  1. Relief from symptoms
  2. Stress reduction
  3. 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.