Picture of Health

The Art of Healing

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Research suggests that nature scenes can lower stress levels in some hospital patients. Mike Pfister, a retired major general, and his wife, Gail, would agree. Visiting Water Reed Army Medical Center the past 10 years -- as Gail Pfister underwent chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and radiation treatments for multiple myeloma, a cancer of bone marrow cells -- the Alexandria couple has admired the colorful, serene photos by California photographer Robin Constable Hanson. Some 700 of Hanson's photos-- including the shot above of the Keukenhof garden in the Netherlands -- appear throughout the medical center; hundreds more hang in other Washington area medical facilities.

As a patient, said Pfister, "there's nothing worse than the bare halls of most hospitals, and [these photos] lift you right out of the hospital and into gardens and waterfalls -- it definitely lifted me."

-- Samantha Sordyl

© 2005 The Washington Post Company