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Therapeutic Gardening: Antidote for Stress

Post by on Monday, July 12, 2021

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Therapeutic Gardening means design garden for stress management using selected floral wealth which aims to promote a healing environment, receive mental and physical health benefits, and increase well-being of humans. In other words gardening aimed at stress healing and recovering illness through natural intervention. 
In 1812, Dr. Benjamin Rush was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness. Veteran hospitals in 1940s with garden   in USA were designed with therapeutic gardens and during   1973 – NCTRH- National Council for Therapy and Rehabilitation through Horticulture AND  AHTA- American Horticulture Therapy Association played an important role in revolution  of thematic gardening.
Therapeutic Gardening aims activities which binds mind and heart. The gardens can be used for specific age groups, specific activities of gardening like planting, propagation and designing, gardens for attracting butterflies, birds and bees or a garden for diseases specific remedy. Internationally recognised organisations for planning and designing different types of Therapeutic Gardeninginclude American horticultural therapy association, university of Minnesota Healing Gardens, Therapeutic Landscapes Network And University Of North Carolina Horticulture Therapy.
Kashmir is facing lot of mental stress issues especially among youth and drug addiction is now at a peak level. Developing a concept of Therapeutic Gardening at society and government level as well as at health sectors can help  society in a meaningful way.
Benefits of Therapeutic Gardening 
Cognitive benefits:  Therapeutic gardening has cognitive benefits and lot of studies in this regard has been carried out.
Social benefits:  Social isolation is main cause of anxiety, blood pressure, depression and sleep disturbances. Ensuring Therapeutic garden is an alternative to cope up with such situations.
Psychological benefits: Social and thematic landscaping reduces depression and alleviate the aggressive behaviour as increased ability to concentrate and engagement helps reduction in medication.
Physical benefits : Deep involvement with nature ,social interaction, deep concentration on different components visible at eye level ,aromatic feel at smelling point of view, hand eye and mind coordination help easing stress. It has been reported that after surgery scenic view of natural elements dominate positive feeling on negative ones, helps concentration on negative emotions and reducing stressful thoughts.
Constructed Garden Elements 
Paved walking 
Landscape lighting 
Raised beds 
Water features 
Electrical outdoor  outlet; for music and  related activities 
Characteristics of Therapeutic Garden 
Scheduled and programmed activities    
Well defined perimeters 
Recognizable place making 
Supportive conditions 
Universal design  
Types of Therapeutic Gardening
Alzheimer’s gardens
 Based on adult care programs and dementia residences provides physical exercise to come out of tension, frustration and aggression by involving the patients in management of flowers and other flora.  Color, smell and sound of birds, animals add the engagement of patients.
Healing gardens
Based on acute care hospitals and aims improvement in sense, hopefulness and improving adjacent environment. Greenery and water are main focus to develop a spot of healing.
Rehabilitation gardens based on rehabilitation hospitals 
Restorative gardens psychiatric hospitals
Senior community gardens based on assisting senior citizens 
Cancer therapeutic gardens
Enabling gardensbased on vocational schools and arboretum
Medication gardens religious institutions and other faith based settings 
Natural elements of Therapeutic gardens
Attractive floral wealth
Plants that attract birds, bees and butterflies 
Aromatic and ornamental plants with pleasing appearance and scented qualities
Ornamental annuals for imparting charming colour scheme
Designing garden in such a way to create sunny, semi shade and shady situations for recreational purposes
Ensuring normal wind and precipitation 
Therapeutic gardens
Activity chart
Window view
Open space for sitting/activities 
Walking tracks
Refreshing section
Children garden
Aesthetic and recreational atmosphere
The Key Design Principles
Meaningful activity 
Understanding of its therapeutic value,  activity programs and maintenance regime 
Garden’s success very much depends  upon the staff’s understanding of the design
Locate gardens where they can be easily viewed from inside the 
Simple path system
Ensure garden accessible with people by removing the physical andmental barriers 
Ensure there is plenty of shade 
Offer a range of garden beds at differing heights for ease of access 
Enhance the quality of life
Include elements that encourage interaction between  family members
Meaningful activity
Safety can be the defining factor in whether a garden is allowed to be used or not. Ensure that all potential safety issues are addressed in the planning process of the garden
Plants used
Examples of Plants enhancing the sense of smell to relax
Lavendula, Rosa, Hyacinthus, Primula, Narcissus etc.
Scented Shrubs
Persian lilac,Cape Jasmine,Din kaRaja,Wintersweet,Magnolia
Scented Climbers,Honeysuckle,Hiptage,Potato vine,Star Jasmine,Rangoon creeper,Bower vine etc
Anti-stress herbs 
Lavender ,Kasturi , Passion flower,Rosemary,Balm mint,Chamomileetc
Case studies: 
? A Garden at your Workplace May Reduce Stress reported by Department of Landscape planting, University of Agricultural sciences, Sweden who carried an analysis of connection between Level of stress and access to a garden at the respondent’s workplace  and found 89.42% stress with garden compared to 130.14%  without garden. 
 Classification of workplace greenery index in relation to Level of Stress (LS)
Having no view of a garden and no chanceto go out during breaks 
Having no view of a garden and a chance of a break out of doors once a month at most 
Having a view of a garden and few or no chances of a break out of doors (once a week at most) 
Having a view of a green garden and chances of a break in a green garden more than once a week 
77.07 %
Case study 2
Horticulture Programming’s Effect on Youth’s Emotional Wellbeing Mitchell(2013) St. Catherine University, USA.
Emotional Benefits Scale
? Emotional well being is increased in the  youth those who are involving in the garden activity. 
? Mental stress is also reduced.
Popular Therapeutic Gardens
Enid A. Haupt Glass Garden
At New york university.
Provide a Horticulture therapy to patients.
1600 m2
Olson Family Garden 
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Size: 8000 sq.ft.
Sky Garden, Chicago
23 story Children’s Hospitaland 11 story is completely therapeutic garden
Future Thrust Areas
Awareness and recognition
Adaptation in various institutions
Indoor Gardening.
Space utilisation in Metropolitan city. 
Natural and effective method in reducing stress, tension, fatigue, anger, pain, sadness, depression and anxiety. 
Increase positive mood, energy and feelings of calm and encourage human–nature interaction.
Hospitals may design therapeutic Gardens.

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