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Gardening Nude Naked Winner of the Week: Naomi Sachs, Nature and Garden Healing Therapy Expert

Posted Jan 16 2009 5:25am

On Friday's, Gardening Nude The Blog features a special person for the day. This person is the "Naked Winner of the Week." Every person featured in this category is a winner for doing great things for the community and trying to make a difference for the world. You can make a difference too.

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The naked winner of the week for 01-16-09 is ::drum roll please::

Naomi Sachs, for teaching the world how to facilitate health and wellness by experiencing healing therapy gardens and nature. She is the founder of the Therapeutic Landscapes Resource Center and is truly making a difference by helping people recover more quickly from illnesses on both an emotional and physical level. 

Naomi Sachs

Naomi Sachs, ASLA, is the Founder and Executive Director for the not-for-profit organization, Therapeutic Landscapes Resource Center and Database (TLDB). This resource can be found at www.healinglandscapes.org. When Naomi founded the organization, she knew the healing benefits of being out in nature and wanted the world to practice better habits for helping the public heal both emotionally and physically from illnesses.

With the recent addition of the Therapeutic Landscapes Database Blog - http://tldb.blogspot.com - Naomi has been able to bring her inspirational message to more and more people across the globe. Living an outdoor NS Kay's Garden 4 experience, particularly in gardens, can heal the mind and body. 

I was so inspired by Naomi Sachs and her healing designs and group of healing  gardeners, that I wrote a feature about her and her organization in my latest book, Gardening Nude. You will find the full excerpt from the book at the end of this Friday Naked Person of the week with photo excerpts of several of her beautiful nature designs.

TLDB needs help and funding to get the message of experiencing nature for healing out to gardeners and non-gardeners alike - they have an Amazon Associates link on the blog which, if you order books through Amazon via this link, will allow TLDB to earn funding based on your orders. Here's the link - TLDB Amazon Associates Funding Link.

Thank you Naomi Sachs for founding TLDB and truly making a difference for the world. We need more love, generosity, and healing - and healing mentally and physically ill individuals is a beautiful thing to accomplish. Naomi wins a wave and a cheer from all the Gardening Nude readers for making a true difference in the world.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community! www.thecasualgardener.com or The Blogs - www.gardeningnude.com or http://thecasualgardener.blogspot.com

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Click the link below to continue reading more about Naomi Sachs and how she's healing the world. The write-up below is the full feature excerpt from “Gardening Nude.”

NS Kay's Garden 3

A Garden Can Be Therapy

Therapeutic Landscaping is a relatively new term that is changing the face of traditional landscaping. The term refers to fostering the mental, physical, and spiritual restoration of the human condition in a garden. Therapeutic gardens can be small or large, but all of them encourage total immersion in nature so a person can escape from illness, pain, and depression.

A therapeutic garden can be designed to enhance medical treatments, assist medical staff in giving care, provide relief for a particular medical condition, reduce stress and aggression, or simply provide a place where a busy family can go to heal and relax. A good therapeutic garden is also a green-centered garden, taking advantage of positive environmental practices.

Naomi Sachs, ASLA, is the founder and executive director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Resource Center (TLRC). This not-for-profit organization is dedicated to providing information to the public about restorative landscapes, healing gardens, wellness gardens, and other research-based healthcare landscapes. The Therapeutic Landscapes database provides web-based information and forums with no fee for registration. Sachs’ goal is to spread the good word of landscaping for improved health from exposure to nature.

Sachs has been particularly inspired by the effects of the landscaped garden on reducing stress and enhancing creativity. A quote on the TLRC website demonstrates this belief, “Vincent Van Gogh painted his famous ‘Iris’ series at the Asylum of Saint Paul de Mausole, in Sant-Remy, France, in the spring of 1889. Allowed to roam the asylum’s grounds, Van Gogh began painting almost immediately. In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh wrote: ‘…you will see that considering my life is spent mostly in the garden, it is not so unhappy.’ That summer, he wrote, ‘For one’s health it is necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing.’”

Further proof that therapeutic landscape design works comes from research done by Roger Ulrich, Ph.D. of Texas A&M University. He discovered that social support and a sense of control are effective in reduction of stress—thus enhancing lifestyle, medical treatment outcome, and more. Dr. Ulrich believes NS Sanctuary Garden 2 that exposure to nature and exercise are important to improved health. His research also demonstrates that patients, looking out a window with a garden view, took less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than those who looked out at a brick wall.

Many designers are beginning to understand the connection Dr. Ulrich has proven between better health and the environment. Naomi Sachs, TLRC founder, has designed many healing gardens through her firm, Naomi Sachs Design. Two of her residential designs touch on improved stress levels and improved exercise benefits. The Sanctuary Garden is a healing place created for a busy, stressed-out business-woman. The owner needed a sanctuary; a place where she could regain her health. NS Sanctuary Garden 4 The design emphasizes a walled garden to   minimize city noise, with softened focal points that allow the eye to rest calmly. The garden requires virtually no upkeep. It is meant to be easy to maintain, simplifying and de-stressing a busy life. The seating area is implicitly simple, providing a place for a cup of tea with breakfast or a quiet moment with a craft.

An octogenarian couple of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mac and Kay, inspired Sachs design for Kay’s Garden. For the elderly, declining activity leads to declining health. Kay’s Garden was built by Sachs to stimulate the couple to get outside and exercise more, thereby improving both their physical and mental health. The previous garden had become weed-filled, inaccessible, and unsuitable for the couple as Kay could no longer venture onto the gravel pathway and stump-strewn terrain. The new garden is easily accessible, includes seating and has a smooth, even walk way to prevent falls.

Seating was important, so Sachs designed a range of seating choices, creating several spaces just off the path where easily movable chairs could be placed for maximum garden enjoyment. Craggy moss-rock boulders were arranged to NS Kay's Garden 1 provide visual interest and catch rainwater where birds and butterflies could drink and bathe. All plants are highly drought tolerant and require little care. Russian sage, catmint, and many grass varieties offer wind-persuaded sound and motion to stimulate the couple’s senses. Sachs says, “Plants were chosen for their color, scent, winter interest, and ability to attract wildlife—Mac and Kay are avid birdwatchers.” Bird feeders were placed around the garden to invite small birds and animals to come and share the space.

NS Kay's Garden 5 Even before installation was complete, both Kay and Mac started spending an hour or more a day in the garden. Kay began to use the easily navigable walkway for her daily exercise. “Before we created the garden,” says Sachs, “Kay did not go outside at all. There was simply no place on the property where she could navigate safely or comfortably.”

Only two months later, Kay had become strong enough to walk with Mac up and down the street. The garden brought significant benefits to Mac and Kay, both physically and emotionally. This is an amazing example of what a healing garden can become—a delightful spot where an older couple can remain active and healthy, yet still feel safe.

You can create your own therapeutic garden at home. First, you must determine, perhaps with medical consultation, the goal of your garden. It might be to stimulate memories in an Alzheimer’s patient or to use medicinal plants in your daily life. Your garden might support healthy outdoor exercise and activity or encourage special needs children to explore. Your design might include a memorial, a healing spot to go to contemplate a friend or family member who has passed on. Another idea is to plant a vegetable garden to provide your own food and improve your diet with fresher foods. Ideas for healthy garden designs are unlimited.

My own garden is definitely therapeutic and was created to bring health to my family and the surrounding community. This ever-expanding creation is filled with perennial beds, as well as smaller outdoor rooms and seating areas. I believe all gardens should have a restful area, where a family can go to release stress, entertain friends, and enjoy each other and nature.

Creating a garden with a special purpose is a great way to encourage better health for you and your family. I hope you find a special spot in your yard or on your property which can become a healing resource for you.

To experience more great features, plus a full greening and conservation guide, please order "Gardening Nude", the book, authored by Shawna Lee Coronado, please go to www.amazon.com or www.thecasualgardener.com/Book.

Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community! www.thecasualgardener.com or The Blogs - www.gardeningnude.com or http://thecasualgardener.blogspot.com

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