Things You Need to Know About Garden Therapy
Garden therapy, also known as horticultural therapy, has been practiced since ancient times. However, with the advent of medicinal technology, nature’s healing power is oftentimes ignored. Luckily, institutions are now beginning to recognize the essence and healing potential of garden therapy.
History and Practice
During the ancient times, the benefits of garden environments have been consistently documented. Dr. Benjamin Rush, the Father of American Psychiatry, was the first person to document the positive effects of working in the garden had on people with mental illness. In the 1940s and 1950s, a rehabilitative institution for war veterans had broaden the acceptance of garden therapy. It was no longer limited to treating mental illness. The practice had gained integrity and had encompassed both the diagnostic and therapeutic options in healing diseases.
Types of Therapeutic Gardens
A therapeutic garden is an environment of foliage with the primordial purpose of facilitating the interaction with the healing elements of nature. This interaction is categorized as passive or active, depending on the design of the garden and the needs of the user. Therapeutic gardens are also categorized into four subtypes and they are as follows:
- Healing gardens are gardens found mostly in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that specifically aimed to improve the health of individuals. This type of garden provides a place of refuge and encourage the healing of patients, families and staff.
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- Enabling gardens are gardens that are designed to encourage overall wellness and health through passive interaction with the garden and active or purposeful gardening activities.
- Rehabilitative gardens are gardens that are aimed to promote convalescence or recuperation among individuals.
- Restorative gardens, also known as healing or contemplative gardens, are designed to concentrate on the effects of nature and the constructed environment on health and well-being.
A garden’s bosom is a haven for healing and recuperation. Take care of nature, pour out your heart, and soul onto her and she will truthfully return the favor.
Five Benefits of Garden Therapy
Research has revealed time and time again that gardening has a positive effect on our mental health. It helps us heal, conquer anxiety, and uplift our mood. Here are other specific benefits of gardening:
Gardening gives us a sense of responsibility.
Tending your plants is a good way for you to learn to look after and respect other living things. Being exposed to this kind of activity also helps you develop an appreciation for the goodness and wonders of nature.
Gardening allows us to become nurturers.
Horticulture does not choose age, gender, mental, or health conditions. It is an equalizer. It does not discriminate, but rather, it contributes and catalyzes an individual’s self-perception for it boosts self-esteem.
Gardening keeps us linked to other living things.
Gardening can be self-awakening for it reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. Egocentricity can be a contributing factor to mental conditions such as depression. Focusing on outdoor activities can encourage us to be less blinkered.
Gardening helps us relax and let go.
Gardening gives us an escape from dealing with other people for according to Freud, flowers are peaceful creatures to look at; they do not have emotions or conflicts. Nurturing plants allows us to venture into the untroubled part of ourselves. There are no deadlines, liabilities, or toxic and negative people to think of. Moreover, the cadenced nature associated with the tasks of gardening such as weeding, trimming, sowing, and so on allows a momentary solitude and meditation that clears your mind from thoughts.
Working with nature releases endorphins.
It is not only good for the body but also for the mind. Gardening encourages exercise and outdoor activities that helps in improving your overall well-being. Thus, it releases the hormones serotonin and dopamine, which improve our mood and lower down the level of the stress hormone, cortisol.
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