Why Horticultural Therapy?
Horticultural therapy (also known as ‘social and therapeutic horticulture’) uses the activities associated with horticulture such as gardening, plant propagation, plant care, visits to natural environments and gardens and parks etc., in personal development; to engender a feeling of well-being, improve physical health and encourage social interaction.
Humans instinctively relate to plants – the origin of this affinity has been attributed to our evolutionary journey as a species; we have relied on plants to provide us with medicine and food since the beginning of our evolution. Plants have been cultivated by man for centuries to provide food for farm animals, food for ourselves, and a wide range of other products, from building materials to oils and fibre. Plants are part of our psyche; from birth we are exposed to plants – so subconsciously we expect plants to be a part of our lives.
Plants also provide us with beauty, relaxation and exercise. Most people would prefer to look at a garden rather than bare space. Recent research suggests that gardens and parks are integral to human mental health; spending time within a natural environment was found to lower mental fatigue and dissipate aggressive tendencies. Social interaction and participation, community gardens (for example) help encourage social connectedness and a sense of community pride; bonded communities are also safer to live in.
Involvement with plants and time spent in gardens has also been used for many years as a
viable part of aged care, particularly for patients with dementia and for patients convalescing in hospitals or in care. A pleasant view of a landscape and / or garden has proved to significantly reduce the recovery time for patients lucky enough to have a landscape of plants and greenery to look at each day.
These are some short notes from our horticultural therapy course. If you would like to learn more about horticultural therapy, why not have a look at our 100 hour course – Horticultural Therapy.
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