Healing nature of Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital's Horticultural Therapy Center

MALVERN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- We are understanding more and more about the benefits of nature. Just being in nature can improve your mind, your heart rate, your blood pressure, and more.

Lynn Crawford from Willstown, Pennsylvania enjoys her walks through the late summer blooms at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.

She did a lot of the same thing here while recovering after double-knee replacement.



"I did all the exercises in the regular therapy rooms, but they brought me down here, and this was just wonderful," she said.

The sight and aroma of the gardens and greenhouse at the Horticultural Therapy Center weren't just relaxing.

"You can do your exercises, but in a different way. You're standing, you're sitting, you're moving your hands, you're strengthening muscles," she said.

While she was a patient, Lynn says she spent every moment she could in the center. Now, she volunteers there every week.



Horticultural therapist Pam Young says tasks there can be tailored to the goals of patients recovering from strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and neurological disorders. A sensory garden can stimulate memory.

Steps improve walking and balance. Potting small plants helps fine motor skills, yet doesn't feel like "physical therapy."

"You're not necessarily going to leave here and go home and put pegs in holes, but you might leave here and repot your houseplants or work in the garden," said Pam.

Several side missions help patients feel even more productive. The center has been raising and releasing the endangered monarch butterflies and it's raised and donated thousands of pounds of produce to the Chester County Food Bank.

Pam says great things happen at the center - things that aren't on medical charts, but are so important as human beings.
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