Plants are an important part of Nature, and one of their properties is the ability to heal pains and remove stress. To use this property and heal patients naturally in a residential area, it is necessary to have a garden, whether big or small. Many garden activities help such patients to lead a normal, healthy life. Garden experiences are life enhancing and life rebuilding. Connecting with Nature is the best answer to all our pain- and stress-related problems.
In many countries, people have started accepting the therapeutic value of horticulture. Experts, who believe in the healing properties of Nature and have studied it, conduct awareness programs about the benefits of connecting people to plants and Nature. In India also, various associations are conducting campaigns, activity sessions and workshops to spread among the people knowledge of the importance and power of plants. This healing using garden plants is known as horticultural therapy.
Credit: Yotoen, Flickr
Horticultural therapy does not only heal people. It also teaches them the healing power of Nature, which they understand in steps. To help such understanding, we, the therapists document the progress of each patient who participates in the therapy. As an illustration, let me tell you about a case study of Mr. Fung, a therapist, in a recent interesting article of his.
Fung trained therapists and custom-designed activities, based on their individual abilities and the needs of their patients. This is done through the auspices of an association, which works mostly with dementia and stroke patients, students with special needs and those diagnosed with depression.
One of the student-patients in a class in the association is 11-year-old Tony Li Ching-Tung. He had been diagnosed with autism when he was two. His mother, Shirley Ng Bun-sure, is pleased with his progress.
” He has improved a lot, especially when it comes to sensory integration, ” she says. ” He loves growing plants and flowers because he is about things that are alive.”
Horticulture therapy can also build self-esteem in stroke patients, who often feel frustrated and depressed. Fung usually makes them transplant plants into bigger pots. He gives them adapted tools, depending on their abilities.
Pots are placed on non-slippery surfaces and patients can fill them with soil, or water the plant. Depressed patients are given colorful, low maintenance plants to look after. This is done for sensory and visual stimulation.
Fung uses plants and flowers in different forms, from potted plants to cut and pressed flowers to show that plants are beautiful in many ways.
Horticulture therapy offers advantages to each individual in terms of physical and mental well-being and greater acceptance in society. It gives a chance to learn life-skills such as sequencing, memory use and problem solving. The activities are designed to create self-confidence, social abilities and self-esteem, which will help them and give them a positive outlook in life.