Horticulture As Therapy
Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice
Garden therapy ; Social horticulture ; Therapeutic horticulture ; Vocational horticulture. Horticultural therapy is the practice of using horticultural activities for human healing and rehabilitation. Reference to the healing power of gardens and nature can be found as far back as ancient Greek times and through to recent times. In the United States, earliest articles published regarding the value of horticulture and gardening to human health are from the s. This entry will present the historical background of the profession of horticultural therapy in the United States, mention the key people in establishing the profession, define horticultural therapy, review the theoretical framework, and consider the future of the profession.
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Horticulture therapy employs plants and gardening activities in therapeutic and rehabilitation activities and could be utilized to improve the quality of life of the worldwide aging population, possibly reducing costs for long-term, assisted living and dementia unit residents. Preliminary studies have reported the benefits of horticultural therapy and garden settings in reduction of pain, improvement in attention, lessening of stress, modulation of agitation, lowering of as needed medications, antipsychotics and reduction of falls. This is especially relevant for both the United States and the Republic of Korea since aging is occurring at an unprecedented rate, with Korea experiencing some of the world's greatest increases in elderly populations. In support of the role of nature as a therapeutic modality in geriatrics, most of the existing studies of garden settings have utilized views of nature or indoor plants with sparse studies employing therapeutic gardens and rehabilitation greenhouses. With few controlled clinical trials demonstrating the positive or negative effects of the use of garden settings for the rehabilitation of the aging populations, a more vigorous quantitative analysis of the benefits is long overdue. This literature review presents the data supporting future studies of the effects of natural settings for the long term care and rehabilitation of the elderly having the medical and mental health problems frequently occurring with aging.