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Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Power of Healing Gardens

Spending time in natural settings is great for overall health and well-being.

Without it our children can even risk disease as described by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. 

Nature's positive effects on health are being studied more and more with stronger evidence all the time.  One of the most recent studies came out of Harvard, the departments of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.  Their findings suggest close proximity to natural spaces-
  • lessen adverse environmental exposures 
    • air pollution
    • noise
    • extreme heat
  • increase physical activity
  • increase social engagement
  • lower stress
You can read the full paper or download the .pdf verison here.

There are an increasing number of scientific papers showing how being around dust could be helpful in preventing asthma.  There are also about the health benefits of getting your hands (and feet) dirty

Spending time in natural settings generally means physical activity, exposure to fresh air and is great for prevention!  Anyone who has spent time in nature knows the pleasant feelings that comes with it.

But sometimes we get sick, or are injured. So how can we use this information?  This is where modern medicine is taking cues from the natural world and using Healing Gardens to benefit patients and even staff! 

Healing Gardens are green spaces in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities that specifically aim to improve health outcomes.  They promote healing and provide a place of refuge for patients, their families and staff.

Roger Ulrich was one of the first to promote a patients "View through a window..." can effect patient outcome - patients had fewer negative evaluative comments, took less medicine and averaged a day quicker post-operative recovery stays.  His influential work in the early 80's has been cited thousands of times and continues to influence healthcare facility design. 

Some of the documented benefits of Healing Gardens include:
  • Shorter post-operative stays
  • Less use of potent drugs
  • Better attitudes
  • Contribute to feelings of: 
    • wholeness & health
    • calm, relaxed
    • the ability to think & cope
    • being refreshed
    • improved strength
More and more hospitals are adding healing gardens, especially for their Oncology and Alzheimer care units.

I was really excited to unveil the preliminary Healing Garden design at a presentation for a Des Moines based Wellness Center this weekend!

The plan includes common and private seating areas within and viewing natural settings.  Both sunnier and shadier areas are planned for all season enjoyment.

Sustainable and ecological design practices were also used to plan a walking path throughout an eventual prairie wildflower area, woodland, orchard and natural play space.

In addition, Permaculture techniques were applied to capture and store rainwater for the community garden and multiple orchard style areas that include guilds and companion plantings. 

This design incorporated several features that Abundant Design can design, install and manage for your property.  Contact me for any of these for your home or business.

If you are healthcare facility looking to improve patient outcomes, call us today!

The weather is perfect for being outside, and the fall colors are really showing.

The Sumac, Aronia and Blueberry are catching fire; and our Ash trees are pure gold! 

The peak color should be this week and next weekend!  Read more at Travel Iowa for details.

Go outside this week, enjoy the colors and stay healthy!!!

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