Benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture

The outcomes of therapeutic horticulture can be profound.

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increased socialization

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by encouraging collaboration and communication in a supportive group

improved physical health

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through exercise and access to fresh food

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reduced stress, anxiety & depression

through sensory stimulation and focus on surroundings

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increased self-esteem & resiliency

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by overcoming challenges and completing activities

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a sense of kuleana

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by being responsible for living plants

self-expression

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through creative and artistic activities

discovery of new interests & vocations

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through exposure to gardening and crafting

connection to community & place

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by discussing & experiencing the history and geography of your place

Research behind the results

The benefits of human immersion in and interaction with nature have been scientifically documented.

Positive physiological results of interaction with plants (both passive and active) include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, improved immune response, reduced muscle tension, improved muscle strength and balance, lowered cortisol levels, increased endorphin production, reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, improved heart health, diminished pain, and reduced risk of obesity .(1)

The benefits for the mind and spirit are significant as well. Positive effects of interacting with nature include redirected negative emotions, focused attention on something other than current personal issues, improved concentration, and a sense of purpose and achievement.(2)  Even passive interaction with nature, such as viewing plants, can increase positive feelings and reduce fear and anger.(3)

Communities that have access to green space report less crime and violence; residents experience a higher quality of life than those without access to nature.(4) In the workplace, access to nature improves employee satisfaction. (5) Aesthetic improvement of landscapes increases property values and contributes to positive community perception of the neighborhood.

Sources

1. Simson, S. P., & Straus, M. C. (1998). Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group. 24. 

Arvay, C. G. (2018). The biophilia effect: A scientific and spiritual exploration of the healing bond between humans and nature. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. 10-16, 29-37, 69-79.

Winterbottom, D. M., & Wagenfeld, A. (2015). Therapeutic gardens: Design for healing spaces. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 11-14.

2. Haller, R., & Capra, C. (2017). Horticultural Therapy Methods (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group. 13–18. Clatworthy, J., Hinds, J., & Camic, P. (2013). “Gardening as a Mental Health Intervention: A Review.” Mental Health Review   Journal 18(4), 214–225. doi: 10.1108/MHRJ-02-2013-0007.

3. Simson, 24.

4. Winterbottom, 11-14.

5. Simson, 26.

6. Simson, 29.