Those of us who work in the garden regularly know that feeling of bliss and stress relief that happens when we tend to our plants. Now, top therapists are starting to recognize the mental health benefits of gardening with a new phenomenon–horticulture therapy.
Horticulture therapy is used to treat depression, anxiety and other specific treatment goals. The therapy is administered by a trained horticulture therapist who engages the patient in a number of gardening activities. Therapeutic gardens, as they are known, are springing up in all types of treatment facilities, including mental health clinics, hospitals, correctional facilities, veterans facilities rehabilitation clinics and nursing homes.
If you already garden, you could consider it “self-medicating”. Here are just a few of the healing benefits gardening can provide:
- Enhance self-esteem
- Ease stress
- Improve mood
- Speed recovery from illness
- Encourage social interaction
- Increase sense of control
- Promote exercise
Gardens serve as a retreat from the fast pace of life. Dig in and take advantage of this inexpensive and effective form of therapy!