Date of the last update: 24.11.2023
Did you know that planting flowers and growing vegetables can enhance your well-being and mental health? Hortitherapy, also known as gardening therapy, is a form of occupational therapy that combines elements of gardening with psychological therapy, aiming to help patients improve their mental and physical health.
Table of contents:
- What is hortitherapy?
- What are the benefits of hortitherapy?
- How to become a hortitherapist?
You can read this article in 4 minutes.
Hortitherapy, also known as garden therapy, is based on interaction with nature and activities performed in the garden to improve mental and emotional health. Patients engage in tasks such as planting, caring for plants, and designing gardens, which have a beneficial effect on reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as improving overall well-being. Hortitherapy can help you release tension, be creative, and develop stress management skills. Used in healthcare facilities, special schools, and therapy offices, hortitherapy involves various elements of nature, such as plants, water, or stones, to stimulate patients’ senses and encourage reflection and activity. It is a personalized and natural form of therapy that uses the power of nature to improve quality of life and well-being.
Hortitherapy brings numerous benefits to mental, emotional, and physical health. These benefits include, among others:
- Stress and anxiety reduction – gardening and contact with nature are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Hortitherapy helps reduce stress, anxiety, and tension levels, contributing to an overall increase in emotional comfort.
- Mood booster – activities in the garden, such as planting, watering, and caring for plants, stimulate the release of endorphins, the so-called happiness hormones. This can lead to improved mood and overall well-being.
- Increased physical well-being – physical work in the garden, such as digging, planting, and weeding, helps improve physical fitness, coordination, and overall fitness.
- Improving concentration and attention – hortitherapy requires focus and presence in the moment, which can help improve concentration and reduce distraction.
- Stimulating creativity – creating and planning garden arrangements engages patients’ creativity, which can help develop imagination and problem-solving skills.
- Building trust and relationship – garden therapy can help build trust in the therapist and support the process of creating a relationship between the patient and the therapist.
- Expressing emotions – gardening can be a unique way to express emotions, especially for people who have difficulty expressing their feelings verbally.
- Restoring calm and balance – contact with nature and gardening can help you regain peace and balance during difficult times in your life.
- Improving coping ability – gardening requires patience and commitment, which can help develop coping skills.
- Support for the healing process – for people recovering from illnesses or traumas, hortitherapy can support the healing and regeneration process.
There are a few important steps you need to take to become a hortitherapist:
- Obtaining the right education – it is beneficial to get an education in occupational therapy or related fields, such as psychology, sociology, horticulture, or horticultural medicine. Studies related to hortitherapy or occupational therapy can provide theoretical and practical knowledge useful in the work of a hortitherapist.
- Gaining Experience – professional practice is important in hortitherapy. You can start by volunteering at therapy centers, therapy gardens, or other horticultural therapy organizations. This will allow you to gain practical skills and experience working with different groups of patients.
- Seeking certification and accreditation – there are many organizations that offer certification and accreditation in hortitherapy. Obtaining such certifications can help improve your qualifications and credibility as a hortitherapist.
- Continuous self-development – it’s important to continue learning and developing in the field of hortitherapy. Seek out opportunities to attend horticultural therapy workshops, training, and conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest research and practice in the field.
- Building your network – networking with other professionals working in hortitherapy is important. You can join professional associations or online discussion groups to exchange experiences and gain support from other hortitherapists.
Check out also: How to become a naturopath?
To sum up, hortitherapy is an innovative form of therapy that combines elements of gardening with psychological therapy, aiming to improve mental and physical health through gardening. It works on many levels, from reducing stress and anxiety, through improving mood and coping skills, to supporting the healing and regeneration process. To become a hortitherapist, it is worth getting the appropriate education, gaining practical experience, obtaining certification, and continuing to learn and develop in the field of hortitherapy. Understanding the benefits of garden therapy and gaining the ability to work with nature and patients opens the door to a fascinating career as a hortitherapist who combines therapy with nature