Trauma & Illness Recovery
Has anybody seen the studies where hospital patients recover faster and more thoroughly when there is Nature outside the window? Even more so when they are allowed to get their hands dirty by working in a garden, and even more so when they actually get out into a wild nature? What is going on here?
Dr. Richard Mollica’s Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World is an excellent book. A Harvard Medical Professor of psychiatry, and director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, he has spent over 30 years helping people overcome every form of trauma, some of it so gruesome it defies words. His thesis: “People have an inherent ability to heal themselves.” Part of the problem in modern treatment is that “healing professionals… spend little time with their patients and are detached from their [patients’] social realities… Few therapists interact with patients within the patient’s own social world… The concrete realities of the traumatized life remain unseen… Within this frame of reference, knowledge of the patient’s trauma and corresponding natural world has no value.” He goes on to say,
“Ancient Greek and Roman medical practitioners… understood that human beings are part of nature and that their illnesses and healing are part of the world around them.”
GPRC has seen first-hand the profound healing benefits achieved among numerous hurt, ailing and/or traumatized individuals who have had the personal opportunity to get out into wild, open prairie country. GPRC is very interested in the MEDICAL value of protecting Nature. Study in this area is only barely beginning, but it is razor sharp, very exciting, and we are pushing for this to become a major course of work for hospitals, universities, as well as communities and non-profits, as well as considered by school districts in preparation for adopting our first-ever Ecological Health School Curriculum.
What we and a few others are saying is that the physical experience of being outside in Nature provides physiological boost to one’s wellness and health — it’s the inhalation of the whole experience, the personal contact with organic soil, microbes, pollen, grass, insects, fresh air and water, hot and cold weather all stimulating and fortifying the immune system as it has done for legions of years (up until these most recent times), combined with an unspecified X factor (some would say ’spiritual”) of the whole exhilarating, renewing, renourishing experience of moving body and soul within primeval silence and the unbelievably intricate, constantly changing Eden of life of remaining wild places. For example, being outside in the Fort Worth Prairie Park, surrounded by this whispering, rushing, flowing Eden is intoxicating. It not only stimulates the immune system, but something else. To go out into a sea of wind-whipped native tallgrass prairie, and have such sensory overload as the whole experience swallows you, then take it a step further to physically work with others for its healing and protection, provides a therapeutic prescription you can’t buy at any pharmacy.
OPEN CALL TO HOSPITALS AND HOSPICES
GPRC is seeking hospital and hospice partners in our efforts to establish wild prairie areas and provide for ailing people. Please contact us at 832-598-GPRC(4772) to see how we can together work to further the tangible healing, hope and renewal that is so needed in our world.