Published at Friday, March 29th, 2019 - 20:44:40 PM. Home Decoration. By Alberta Krämer.
Light and fire. Low-voltage, energy-efficient illumination for the outdoors is now easy to install, even without an electrician. It can be placed along paths, in grass, water features, and trees to extend garden use past dusk. Lighting also helps homeowners enjoy their gardens from afar by spotlighting different garden focal points so they can be enjoyed during inclement weather or when residents are otherwise unable to venture out. Real flames and light can flicker safely in gas-fired tiki-style torches or a fire pit to expand a gardens use into evening. Fire offers a mental health benefit since it tends to call people together to sit and linger, which is especially helpful for for those feeling isolated. “Theres something almost tribal about being around a fire together,” says Sachs.
Therapy gardens tend to be most successful when they have features that appeal to at least one of the senses all year round, Carman says. However, smell is one sense that varies quite a bit depending on the clients needs. Gardens with fragrant plants such as lilacs have been found to trigger sweet memories for those with dementia and brain injuries. “Smell is one of the last senses to go,” says Naomi Sachs, founding director of Cornell Universitys Therapeutic Landscapes Network. For that reason, one garden at the Marianjoy Integrative Pain Treatment Center at Northwestern Medicine outside Chicago has plants that stimulate the olfactory system, says Kyle Butzine, a staff physical therapist at the Wheaton, Ill., campus gardens. Among those are lavender, lemon verbena, and scented geraniums. Conversely, gardens for those undergoing chemotherapy usually are designed without scents since many cancer treatments make patients highly sensitive to smell and easily nauseated, Sachs says. Too much light can also be unsettling. “Those going through any kind of chemotherapy find it affects their eyes,” Delaney says. But the good news is that nature, even without bright sunlight and smells, can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, balance circadian rhythms, and increase vitamin D absorption, according to Roger Ulrichs research into how seeing greenery can influence surgical recovery. “It also can be a positive distraction that takes peoples minds off their ills,” Carman says.
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