Open Voices Blog

News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities

At Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, nature is helping wounded warriors heal from invisible wounds

Posted on 11/10/17

One year ago, work began to gently shape a lush, wooded piece of land beside our nation’s flagship military hospital into a healing garden space for wounded warriors and their families. The project has been groundbreaking. While we funded “The Green Road” project, it has been led by Dr. Fred Foote, a retired US Navy Captain and scholar at the Institute for Integrative Health. The space is intended to help address “invisible” injuries, like PTSD.

Multiple studies are underway at The Green Road to help us better understand how nature can be used to improve treatments for patients in the future. 

 

Walter Reed is a bellweather of a truly exciting movement in military medicine; a shift in how we can better treat our war wounded recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder or brain injuries. By approaching patients with more holistic treatments, such as access to nature for mindful restoration and healing, hospitals are helping soldiers heal in ways that traditional medicine may fall short. The results are inspiring. 

As we look to Veterans Day, our hope is that this will be a model for other military hospitals throughout the country. All of our veterans should be able to benefit from the healing power of nature. 

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    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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