Oliver Sacks: The Healing Power of Gardens

A stroll through a garden may just be one of the most restorative, therapeutic pastimes there is. And “in many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication,” writes the late neurologist Oliver Sacks in this excerpt from a posthumous collection of his writings.

As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In 40 years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens…..

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