Horticultural Therapy is a very real treatment method using plants and plant related materials to improve the psychological, physical, educational,and social well being of an individual. This in turn improves the mind, body, and spirit of the individual. Horticultural Therapy also works to improve memory skills, socialization, endurance, physical dexterity, and balance.
The idea of planting some flowers may not seem very therapeutic but for many people it has significantly improved their lives. It has been proven to help people relax and to heal faster. Studies have proven that being in a natural environment reduces blood pressure, heart rate and results in stress reduction. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities are using healing gardens to help their patients and it is working. Hospital stays are shortened, and it is also helping with memory and concentration improvement, pain reduction, easing emotional pain. Working in a garden with others helps to encourages social interactions amongst patients.
Many different groups of people can benefit from these types of programs developmentally disabled, the elderly, people who suffer from mental illness, and substance abusers all have been able to improve themselves. These people come to understand the importance of the cycle of life and that their individual actions have an effect on something else that is living and that they are important and matter.
People who are physically disabled find a new sense of freedom that they can do something on their own. With this new sense of control over something in their lives they are able to develop a new sense of self esteem. Working on these projects generally lead to a new outlook on things and they look forward to the next session and even start to do long term planning for next years garden.
These are positive improvements that can actually change a person to have a positive mental outlook, and that is very important to good health. Considering the benefits, these programs should be expanded in my opinion. If senior living centers would adopt a gardening program it would greatly increase the physical activity as well as promote social interactions among the residents. A little friendly competition and promote new friendships.
For those who suffer from developmental disability social service agencies could provide programing that would foster a new sense of independence and provide those individuals with a chance to improve their abilities. Working with plants is a great opportunity to interact with something that is real and tangible.
Church groups could get together and setup programs for their seniors maybe individual garden plots. The church would prepare the plots than the seniors could do the rest. Maybe any excess produce that was grown could be used for the churches food pantry making it a win win for everyone.
You as an individual can help to get some of these programs in place. Petition local health care providers and government agencies. Volunteer some time to help out. Believe me seeing the improvement in some one is really am amazing thing. To know that you helped is an unbelievable feeling.