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Hospitals and Clinics Tap into the Healing Power of Nature

Hospitals and Clinics Tap into the Healing Power of Nature
It doesn't matter whether it's a tiny butterfly garden filled with bright blooms or an expansive landscape complete with paths leading through towering trees and trickling water features.

If you're hurting, you need to get out there.

The idea that nature will soothe the mind, body and spirit goes back to ancient times. Even Benjamin Rush, who signed the Declaration of Independence, saw the power of a natural setting. Rush, a physician and humanitarian, touted that garden settings could cure those who suffered from mental illness.

Hospitals and other medical centers have tapped the soothing qualities of nature increasingly over the past 10 years.

Talk to Becky Garber about the healing effects of the great
Tom Lamana, left, Eric Chamberlain, background, and Sue Sutton mulch a tomato plant at the Rocky Mountain MS Center in Westminster. Standing at left is horticulture therapist Donna Lozano. (Cyrus McCrimmon | The Denver Post)
outdoors, and she'll tell you she doesn't need to read the studies: She's seen it firsthand.

"My husband had open-heart surgery recently, and he was in a hospital that was built years ago," says Garber, director of communications for the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. "He had to physically get up and walk out of his room and down the hall to see outside. He could have been in prison; that's how austere it was.

"When he got home, he went outside and breathed in the fresh air. Our connection with nature is innate."

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