Pages Navigation Menu

Healthcare Key Findings: December 2012

Hospitals Turn to the Healing Power of Gardens

Hospitals Turn to the Healing Power of Gardens

The idea that fresh air, dappled sunlight and the greenery of a garden can be good for what ails us has its roots in ancient tradition and common sense. However, this concept was largely dismissed as peripheral to medical treatment for much of the 20th century. Today, gardens are increasingly being featured in the design of most new hospitals, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects. In a recent survey of 100 directors and architects of assisted-living residences, 82 percent agreed that “the design of outdoor space should be one of the most important considerations in the design.” But can gardens, in fact, promote healing? “Yes they can,” says the findings of a much cited study published in 1984 in the journal Science by environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich, now at Texas A&M University. He was the first to use the standards of modern medical research to demonstrate that gazing at a garden can sometimes speed healing from surgery, infections and other ailments. Ulrich found that patients of all ages seek relaxation and restoration from mental and emotional fatigue. “Tree-bordered vistas of fountains or other water features, and lush, multilayered greenery of mature trees and flowering plants appealed most.” What patients can do in the garden is as important as what they see, Ulrich and other researchers have found. Patients enjoy strolling along tree-lined paths, sitting in the sun or shade and resting near naturalistic landscaping that lures birds, squirrels and other wildlife. One finding surprised those studying hospital gardens. Stressed hospital employees accounted for as many visits to hospital gardens as stressed patients. One hospital staffer admitted she comes to sit amid the trees of a rooftop garden daily to relax and meditate. “It’s a big mental, emotional lift,” she said. (Nature that Nurtures)


  • Apple’s App Store currently offers 9,000 mobile health apps (including nearly 1,500 cardio fitness apps, over 1,300 diet apps, over 1,000 stress and relaxation apps, and over 650 women’s health apps) and this number is expected to reach 13,000 by the end of this year. (MobiHealthNews, September 2011, Trendwatching)
  • 55% of doctors routinely use electronic health records in their practices. (
    By 2030, every state in the nation may well have obesity rates above 44% with most having rates above 50%. (
  • Regardless of where people live, in warm climates or cold. They are 26% – 36% more likely to die of heart related problems in the winter than in the summer. Triggers are linked to weight gain from poor diets and less exercise, flu, respiratory infections and depression. (

Read More Bullets

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *