Time and again, scientific evidence has shown that even small amounts of contact with nature contributes to, and improves, the mental and physical wellbeing of individuals. This is true not only for those suffering from specific medical conditions, but also for everyone in society, from children to the elderly.
A recent summary of research into promoting good health through contact with nature found that even small levels of exposure to nature accounted for improved health outcomes across a plethora of conditions and health indicators, both mental and physical. Although the exact mechanism by which the natural environment stimulates these good outcomes is still unclear, but it is thought that enhanced immune function is the likely cause. Nevertheless, this research demonstrates a clear pathway to improved health outcomes through access to interaction with nature.
In addition to this, spending time in the garden helps to boost the body’s vitamin D levels, lifting your mood. This could potentially reduce the dependence on anti-depressants for some patients. The meditation, relaxation and the invigorating opportunities gardens offer can also assist with stress reduction. It can be argued that, for good mental health, all people need the opportunity to interact regularly with nature
The World Health Organisation (WHO, 1946) stated, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.” If we take this as our definition of good health, then regular interaction with nature in the form of a garden is one of our best ways of achieving it, mentally and physically. There are many different types of therapeutic gardens but sensory gardens can be particularly beneficial to the whole community. So what exactly is a sensory garden?