Garden Therapy: what it is and what benefits it generates
Many think that taking care of a vegetable garden or a garden, even small ones and even on the house’s balcony, is simply a pastime. But, in reality, it is much more, so much so that experts have even coined the expressions garden therapy and horticultural therapy to indicate this activity, considered a sort of cure and rehabilitation through nature. Plants and flowers offer many benefits for psychophysical health, helping to get better from different points of view.
It is a kind of care with nature
For horticultural therapy or garden therapy, we mean a kind of rehabilitation through nature, which includes the planting and care of flowers, plants and vegetables, and environmental and landscape education programs and support projects for people with various problems, such as those related to ageing.
Plant-assisted care, therefore, is a natural support treatment that can help many people.
Some professionals and associations deal with this activity, including a therapeutic garden. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, a medicinal garden is “a plant-dominated environment specially designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature.
Depending on the garden design and user needs, interactions can be passive or active. “Therapeutic gardens include sensory gardens, healing gardens, restorative gardens, enabling gardens, and enabling gardens. Depending on the disease or disability, Horticulture therapy can help people develop fine motor skills, deeper concentration, stamina, hand-eye coordination, a sense of independence and control.
The effects in case of diseases
Interaction with nature, even through the simple act of observing trees or visiting garden-like environments, can have significant therapeutic results. For example, it has been shown that post-surgical hospital patients who can see trees from hospital windows recover faster than similar patients who do not. However, some studies have found that simply viewing a garden from a balcony improves mood, sleep quality, concentration and tranquillity in depressed seniors .and not depressed. If there is the opportunity to visit a garden and walk in nature, the benefits are even more significant.
It gives great satisfaction
However, garden therapy is not only beneficial for sick people. It can help everyone to regain greater psychophysical well-being. To enjoy the positive effects of contact with nature, you do not necessarily need to do ortho therapy sessions and contact experts: even “do it yourself” is sufficient, engaging in gardening or vegetable gardens.
How this activity will be practising depends on the time, space and resources available: some will be able to create a natural vegetable garden using a plot of land and who, for example, will limit themselves to cultivating a few plants herbs in a jar.
It doesn’t make a big difference: you will experience many positive effects in all cases. The ideal, if possible, is to plant tiny seeds: to see that, thanks to one’s care and attention, they first become small green tufts, then seedlings and, finally, natural fruits or flowers gives excellent satisfaction, similar to what every artist feels in front of one’s creation.
It is a reassuring activity
The ratio between the hours dedicated to one’s plants is directly proportional to the results obtained. In this case, therefore, one does not experience that sense of frustration and anger that, on the other hand, is sometimes felt in relationships and daily activities. From this point of view, garden therapy is reassuring: you invest with the certainty of getting something. As a result, one does not feel a failure; on the contrary, one experiences the beautiful sensation of giving life: saying that “you reap what you sow” is appropriate.
Helps remove worries
The gestures required by this activity are almost always the same: in the long run, therefore, they become a sort of soothing ritual that helps to remove negative thoughts, anxiety and stress. Among other things, plant care is an effective and natural exercise in concentration and relaxation. These effects are precious for insecure, impulsive, anxious, stressed individuals with relationship difficulties.
In addition, garden therapy helps you feel less alone. Often, those with a flowered balcony or plants to which is attached love to share them with others. Finally, a green corner, small or large, is good for the spirit. The sight of green or the colours of flowers satisfies the aesthetic sense, gratifying the mind.
The other positive effects of garden therapy
Here are the other beneficial effects of garden therapy:
stimulates problem-solving skills ;
improves breathing, stabilizes blood pressure and heartbeat ;
improves motor skills;
helps to recover spontaneity and freedom;
allows you to experience a less artificial and more natural dimension;
allows you to recover the ancient, slow rhythms;
Conveys joy and serenity.