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eDocTalk article

Grant received to investigate benefits of healing gardens

August 2013

​Legacy Health has received a half-million dollar grant to study the therapeutic benefits of healing gardens. The grant includes funding for three research studies and a new therapeutic terrace garden at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

Legacy is a world leader in horticultural therapy. With 10 healing gardens at the six hospitals, Legacy has more therapeutic gardens than any health care organization in the world.

Construction of the new garden at Legacy Emanuel will begin in September. Later this year, three studies will conduct clinical-outcome research about the benefits of therapeutic gardens:

  • A study of women giving birth will measure the extent to which garden-enriched care lessens their discomfort, pain and stress, and thereby benefits the condition of their babies.
  • A family study will identify the personal benefits experienced by family members of cardiovascular ICU patients.
  • A nurse study will evaluate how spending time in the garden affects work stress.

"This will be the first time that benefits of a calming, beautiful garden are studied for hospital users in a serious, in-depth way," says Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., professor at Chalmers University in Sweden and principal investigator for the research. He will collaborate with Alar Mirka, M.D., director of clinical research at Legacy Research Institute, on research design, development and evaluation.

Funds for this project were provided by the TKF Foundation as part of the National Nature Sacred Awards Program. 

For details on the research grant, visit

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