Navigation Links
Horticultural Therapy Offers Measurable Physical, Mental Benefits

“The gardening enthusiast who comes home from a stressful day at work and hoes in his or her vegetable garden for an hour may be reaping positive mental and emotional results// from that activity — but that’s not the same thing as horticultural therapy,” Airhart explained.

“Horticultural therapy is a clinical process with measurable objectives and outcomes that are closely monitored by a medical team of therapists or rehabilitation professionals,” he said.

Because of his interest and expertise in the field, Airhart is often called on to lead workshops — such as one he led recently at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

Clara Ray, a technical horticultural specialist who’s working on a project in Putnam County’s Dry Valley Alternative School, attended the session.

“The workshop really helped me put in perspective the specific issues of assessing children with behavioral problems, as opposed to children — and even adults — with mental or physical disabilities, who are the clients for many of the other workshop participants,” she said.

“I know plants have had a major impact on my own life, so I will feel good if I can use plants to help just one other person turn their life around,” Ray said.

In addition to addressing a wide range of client issues, horticultural therapy also draws attention to a wide range of environmental aspects, Airhart said, such as the relaxing response people have to the color green.

“What I like best about it is that — at its core — horticultural therapy has the ability to increase self-esteem and self-confidence on both individual and social levels,” he said.

“It can be as simple as taking a cutting from a plant, rooting it in soil, giving it to someone as a gift and seeing them smile, but horticultural therapy teaches people skills they can use to help make themselves and others happy,” Airhart continued.

At its greatest expression, horticultura l therapy provides a wide range of social and vocational benefits. For instance, a former patient may respond so well to the therapy that horticulture becomes a new source of income for him or her.

The groups who may benefit most from horticultural therapy include:

? People with physical, mental, psychological or developmental disabilities.

Someone who’s suffered a traumatic brain injury and needs to work on motor skills, for example, may be encouraged — as a traditional mode of physical therapy — to try squeezing a soft rubber ball a certain number of times per minute.

“If a patient loses interest in that activity, a therapist who’s skilled in the practices of horticultural therapy might then hand her a pruning tool and discover that the patient is happy to clip dead leaves from plants until her hands are too tired to prune any longer,” Airhart said.

? People whose age ranges from the youngest of children to the oldest of adults.

“A child with a chronic illness who doesn’t want to take his medicine can be given a plant to care for and instructed that the water and fertilizer are the plant’s medicines,” he said. “That way, the child sees first-hand how the plant can thrive with proper care or wilt from neglect.”

? Victims of abuse or the abusers.

? People recovering from illnesses or hospice patients seeking enhanced quality of life in their last days.

? And accomplished or novice gardeners — and even people who’ve never gardened before.

“One of the first horticultural therapy activities I learned was to make a bird feeder from a pine cone smeared with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed,” Airhart said. “That’s an easy, inexpensive activity that can be applicable to patients of all ages who are being treated for a wide variety of conditions.”

Although the positive interaction of people with plants has been noted as far back as ancient Egypt, Dr. Benjamin Rush — a medical professor in Philadelphia who is often considered the first psychologist — noted in the late 18th century that field labor in a farm setting had a curative effect on mentally ill patients.

In the two world wars of the early 20th century, horticulture provided a diversion for wounded soldiers with long hospital stays.

But it wasn’t until Alice Burlingame, a trained psychiatric social worker, started a geriatric horticulture program in Michigan State Hospital in 1951 that she began to realize horticultural therapy warranted study as a distinct profession, Airhart said.

With professional interest in the new field steadily increasing, the National Council for Therapy and Rehabilitation Through Horticulture formed in 1973.

“I first developed an interest in horticultural therapy as a graduate student at the University of Georgia in 1978, and I began serving on the board of directors of the NCTRH in 1980,” Airhart said.

When the NCTRH changed its name in 1988 to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, he served as the first president of that new organization.

At TTU, Airhart teaches the agriculture department’s horticultural therapy course every other spring semester.

“During my introductory lab session, I take students to the greenhouse and tell them to pick out a plant that looks how they feel,” he said. “It’s late in the afternoon, and they’re tired from a long day, so most pick out plants that are just a little bit wilted.”

Once, however, one of the students picked out a plant that was “green, perky and looked like it was just absolutely beaming,” Airhart said. The student who’d selected it said it was the best day of her week because she’d been asked out on a date that morning.

“Students in most classes don’t have the opportunity to interact with each other or their instructor on such a personal basis — but that jus t goes to show you the ower of plants!” he said.

(Source: Newswise)
'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Cancer Doctors Okays Controversial Prostate Therapy
2. Consensus on "Combination Therapy" for Breast Cancer
3. Gene Therapy shows promise in treating Hemophilia
4. "Make AIDS Therapy affordable" - Physicians demand
5. Hormone replacement Therapy a headache
6. Simple Therapy
7. Therapy for stopping the spread of cancer cells
8. Gene Therapy Destroys Pancreatic Cancer Cells
9. Letrozole Beats Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Therapy
10. Garlic Supplements Impede HIV Therapy
11. Gene Therapy For Cystic Fibrosis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/8/2016)... Louis, MS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... that serve commercial and residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is ... for the Hancock County Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Bill Mull Agencies, a ... in and around central Kansas, is joining the Youth Horizons organization for a ... , Headquartered in Wichita, Youth Horizons works to empower area children from unstable, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... will have the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in an emergency ... students an immersive experience to gain invaluable, real-life medical skills that are critical ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Kenall Manufacturing, a leader in sealed healthcare lighting ... MPCNGX is a multi-function, sealed, LED luminaire that meets the needs of everyone in ... it’s needed. , A 2’ x 4’ model features four modes: reading, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... LA (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... used to treat wrinkles and deep lines by smoothing and tightening the skin ... invasive techniques out there to address facial aging with very little downtime, Silhouette ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Application, Usability - Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... , , ... grow at a CAGR of around 3.2% from 2015 to 2025. ... advancements in extracellular microelectrode arrays and intracellular microelectrodes, research in left-to-right ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Bodycad announced it has been ... accuracy, reproducibility and speed for 3D constructs via ... bone orthopaedic applications. These patents are critical to ... restorations based on each patient,s distinct anatomy. ... harnesses the world,s first suite of orthopaedic CAD/CAM ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  A new study ... that the use of opioid therapy to treat chronic ... the likelihood of more harmful consequences, including death. ... M.D., and Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored the ... on chronic opioid therapy. The study was published in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: