Horticultural Therapy & The Secret Health Benefits of Gardening
The benefits of gardening activitiesStudies have shown a positive correlation between gardening and mental health – showing that greenfingered pursuits have improved symptoms and benefited those with health concerns. For example, garden therapy has helped with:
Stress-relief In a Dutch study, two groups of people were asked to complete a stressful task and afterwards, to relieve stress, one group read indoors and the other gardened outside – both groups did this for 30 minutes. Afterwards, both groups were examined and the reports had shown a clear difference between group 1 and group 2; with the gardeners in much better moods than those who read.
Gardening is known for reducing cortisol levels – the stress hormone (cortisol) can be managed and lowered by immersing oneself with the outdoors. Being outside in the fresh air and the physical exercise of digging, planting, weeding and harvesting is a great way to take care of the mind as it helps the brain to focus on something else.
Self-esteem The ability to cultivate a small patch of land or grow plants is a surefire way to encourage self-esteem. Nurturing a seed into a plant or a fruit-bearing tree is quite the satisfying process and, as it grows, our self-esteem does too because we can see a visual proof that we are doing something right.
Healthy heart, reduced risk of stroke As we all know, it’s advised that we do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to maintain a healthy heart and reduce our risk of strokes. With that in mind, gardening just might be the solution to partaking in exercise, if going to the gym really isn’t for you. Gardening could be the answer to a healthy heart and what’s more, hours will pass by quicker if you enjoy the exercise you’re doing.
Dexterity As we get older, our dexterity tends to decline,but keeping up with a hobby such as gardening can help to maintain the strength and nimbleness of our hands/fingers. With a multitude of tasks that require doing in the garden, your hands will be sure to have a full workout.
Brain health Gardening is said to reduce the chances of dementia by 36% – how? Gardening involves a wide range of critical functions and when our brain is engaged on a regular basis, what with learning about gardening and problem solving, (when plants aren’t growing like they should), for example – our minds become more resilient.
Stronger immune systems Soaking in small amounts of Vitamin D can help to fight off unwanted colds and flus and the literal dirt underneath your fingernails could do you some good, too. The bacteria found in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, can alleviate aches, pains and allergies.
Fights depression – offering a ‘lift’ and purpose As mentioned above, the soil contains a bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae and this has shown to help with symptoms of depression, too.
What is horticultural therapy?Horticultural therapy consists of plant-based treatments that are performed to aid peace of mind, in order to accomplish therapeutic results.
What is garden therapy?arden therapy is essentially the same as horticultural therapy, using your garden to help promote a healthy body and mind.
Types of horticultural activities
Studying plant care
Pruning trees and shrubs
Mowing the lawn
Feeding and watering plants
Removing dead leaves