New Research Measures Nature’s Healing Effect
The idea that nature can be a source of healing is hardly a new concept. But until recently, science has had little in the way of quantifiable evidence to back those claims up.
Recently, the Green Road Research Program has begun collecting substantial, concrete, measurable data on the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social effects nature can have. The first site in the venture (six are expected to be built) is located at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where many wounded service members receive care.
Drawing on the many healing aspects of nature– including the communal, connective aspect–, the woodland garden trail offers service members and their families a space of peace and restoration. In the hopes of aggregating as much data as possible, enrollment for the study is open to service members from various branches, their care givers, and anyone else interested, willing, and with access to the site, thereby enabling researchers to compare results across different populations.
In order to remain true to statistical, data driven analysis, participants will wear technology to measure their heart rate and sweat, and will walk along both the Green Road site, and a high-traffic, more urban path. While the Green Road’s research pool is largely drawn from those in the military sphere, the project’s broader goal is to create data that can be useful in shaping spaces for other populations, like children at school or the elderly in nursing homes.