Humans possess an attraction to nature, a kinship. Being outside can create feelings of appreciation, peace and tranquility. Gardening can heighten those feelings. After many studies, science is starting to understand that gardening can actually improve health and well-being.
Garden Therapy, also known as Horticultural Therapy, has been implemented in hospitals, prisons, schools and communities. The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) defines it as “a discipline that uses plants, gardening activities, and the natural world as vehicles for professionally conducted programs in therapy and rehabilitation.” The benefits of horticultural therapy include physical activity, relaxation and enjoyment, skill development, creative expression, social development, psychological well-being, sensory stimulation and intellectual and personal growth.
Anyone can benefit from garden therapy, but there are many specific groups that can benefit tremendously from therapeutic horticultural programs, including those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health problems, senior citizens, those with drug or alcohol problems and juvenile offenders. Garden therapy programs can help them develop social, work and numeric skills and offer opportunities for social interaction
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