If you have visited us at Ondol Clinic in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something is “afoot” out the back. We are very excited about what is happening and when the work is completed, we are guessing you will be too. This project will bring a wonderful new dimension to the clinic space. We are creating our healing garden!
We are living in such a fragmented world right now, with so many people feeling disconnected from each other, and also from what has brought them joy in the past. At Ondol Clinic, we hope that we can provide a little reprieve from that, not just in relation to the healing practices we offer, but also from the physical environment we invite you into.
So, when we heard about a grant that was available from the Queensland Government for small businesses affected by COVID-19, to support them in adapting to this new world, we knew we had to apply. We also knew what we would do with the funds if we were successful. The under-utilised yard at the rear of the clinic would be transformed into a tranquil, fragrant and welcoming healing garden.
To our delight, our application was accepted, and we have been awarded some funds to help the project come to life. Also making this possible is one of our long-term clients who lost his job during the pandemic and is not eligible for JobKeeper. He is keen to give back, and we are equally eager to tap into his landscaping and gardening skills and ideas.
Our concept is that the healing garden will be a place to bring our community together to relax, reflect and connect. There will be spaces for people to “just be” in a patch of nature, with appropriate social distancing, before their appointments, or afterwards to chill out and maximise the benefits of the treatment before returning to the busy world. We also hope to provide a wisteria-covered grassed area for groups and classes such as yoga.
Healing gardens have been in existence for hundreds of years. With the ever-increasing presence (and some would say dominance) of technology in our modern world, therapeutic or healing gardens are becoming increasingly popular. For many people, being in nature and interacting with the natural world, brings a sense of peace, tranquillity, and feelings of connectedness – with self, others and a higher power.
Many studies show that after a stressful event, images of nature very quickly produce a calming effect. Within three to four minutes after viewing nature scenes, blood pressure, respiration rate, brain activity, and the production of stress hormones all decrease and mood improves.
Healing gardens reduce stress and promote a sense of wellbeing. This leads to measurable psychological, physiological, and behavioural benefits, such as reduced anxiety, sadness, and other negative moods, lower blood pressure and improved immune functioning.
So, stay tuned for our next blog where we will share with you the plan for the garden design, and more on what elements make a garden “healing” or “therapeutic”. We will also share with you how the work is progressing.
We see this as an evolving and dynamic project, so if you have any ideas for how we can make this space great, please let us know!