Using nature in the therapy experience
While beautiful to the eyes, gardens also have therapeutic benefits. That’s why plans are in place to construct Renewal’s innovative Therapy Nature Walk. A first for this area, the Therapy Nature Walk will be a stunning garden setting in a secured courtyard designed to provide outdoor physical and occupational therapy exercises.
Based on the success of Clark-Lindsey’s Masterpiece Gardens, the Therapy Nature Walk is designed with gentle inclines, varied walking surfaces, raised beds for gardening and a glider swing. These elements combine in making an outdoor garden setting into an alternative exercise source. Gardeners can regain gardening skills through occupational and physical therapy. Those regaining strength and balance will use walking surfaces, much like they might find at home, to prepare them for a return to their neighborhood.
Illinois weather doesn’t provide for outdoor therapy in the winter, but that doesn’t mean nature can’t be brought inside for therapeutic purposes. An indoor horticulture station allows us to bring nature indoors for garden therapy during times of inclement weather. Therapy patients grow herbs and other plants on our Horticulture Growth Cart. The herbs grown are then used in our occupational therapy kitchen with our group practicing cooking skills. When a patient leaves the Renewal Therapy Center to return home, the plant they so carefully tended to goes home with them as a reminder of their own growth during their time with us.
Gardens can help reduce stress and improve health outcomes.