It’s not just me. I read about findings from Yale detailing the healing power of nature. It’s not a general, touchy-feely research report. It’s scientific and specific.
“How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being?
“Precisely 120 minutes.
“In a study of 20,000 people, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces - local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits - were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Two hours was a hard boundary: The study, published June 2020, showed there were no benefits for people who didn’t meet that threshold.”
These findings do not surprise me at all. I’m a healthy, active person, and I am just not right if I don’t have access to the outdoors. Imagine if you were recuperating from an injury and were cooped up indoors with a view of a brick wall?
My husband was hospitalized for a good while when he was in his 20s, and he has never forgotten the first day out of the hospital. “It was just incredible to feel the warm sunshine after being inside for so long. It made me appreciate all the good things in life – things I’d taken for granted, like being outdoors on a beautiful day,” he remembers.
Siskin Hospital for Rehabilitation is known for giving people back their lives following traumatic injury or illness. The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals recommends “patients should have opportunities to connect with nature through outside spaces, plants, indoor atriums and views from windows.”
Forty years ago, the Journal of Science reported that patients with windows looking out on leafy trees healed faster with less medication and fewer complications than patients looking out on a brick wall. Clearly, access to the outdoors is important for healing.
Mike and Mitsy Costello feel strongly about the importance of the gardens.
“After having spent many years in stressful situations in various hospitals, I know the value of healing gardens. Mitsy’s father and my mother both spent time at Siskin Hospital, so we understand the healing and stress relief benefits to patients, family members and caregivers,” Mike said.
The Costellos are leading a campaign to raise funds for a sensory garden at Siskin Hospital for Rehabilitation. Designed under the leadership of Bruce Komitske with assistance from Tinker Ma Architects and Barge Design Solutions, the garden will appeal to all five senses, featuring walking paths and offering a tranquil respite.
There are several levels for giving and naming opportunities. For as little as $1,000, you can have a native tree or wooden bench named in honor or memory of someone important to you. If you haven’t had a stint at Siskin yourself, chances are you’ve visited a friend or relative who is rehabbing there. How lovely would it be to walk out in the garden together and feel personal pride in the rain garden or wooden bridge or trail or pathway or pergola or courtyard or park or the healing garden itself! What a gift to our community this will be.
by Ferris Robinson