Biopsychosocial/Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation in an Urban Rainforest
In 1979, the Anbar Institute launched a path breaking project demonstrating the damaging effects of air pollution on seniors, when in conjunction with the National Institute of Neurology, they opened the YalentayMedicalCenter, a psychoneurological rehabilitation facility nestled in a sub-tropical setting. The project demonstrated how certain types of environmental conditions, such as thermal inversions and airborne pollutants can result in physical and mental symptoms mimicking psychiatric illness, and how these types of illnesses can be reversed.
In 1984, NASA researchers at the Environmental Research Laboratory of John C. Stennis Space Center (NASA) had been conducting innovative research employing natural biological processes for air purification. These findings formed the basis of an even more extensive test, which involved the construction of a sealed structure called “the Biohome”. In the test, subjects entering the Biohome reported all the classic symptoms of “sick building syndrome”: burning eyes and throat and respiratory discomfort. When specific tropical foliage was introduced into the environment, the symptoms ceased.
In 1999, the Anbar Group launched the “Maravilla,” most extensive application of such biopsychosocial research to date, when they designed and built the largest residential indoor organic rainforest in the world: an environmentally-based therapeutic setting designed to treat numerous chronic and debilitating illnesses commonly found among seniors.