Garden Therapy: The Benefits Of Gardening

Garden therapy: the benefits of gardening

Gardening stimulates: the physical, the mental, the sensations, the relationships ... Taking care of plants is therefore taking care of yourself!

Hortitherapy: the garden therapist

Who has never played the gardener's apprentice by burying an avocado pit in a pot? Or, luckier, was introduced to the art of watering flowers or harvesting carrots while helping his grandparents? It is with the same happiness that we try to grow basil on a window sill! Because while appealing to the senses, gardening puts us back in our history. And it benefits our health as shown by horticultural therapy.

Stammering in France, although founded at the end of the 18th century by the American psychiatrist Benjamin Rush, this discipline relies in part on this emotional fiber to support the treatment of autism, migraines, deep depression, epilepsy or to treat the elderly. The latest Alzheimer's plan obliges the units to have a preferably "therapeutic" garden where patients, their families and hospital staff meet to hoe or weed. Gardening in this way is "likely to prevent the emergence of certain disorders or of an addiction, to influence the course of certain pathologies (neurological, psychiatric), to improve living conditions».

Gardens and well-being

But horticultural therapy is also part of a well-being process. "Plants and people have the course of existence in common," recalls child psychiatrist Dominique Sauvage (in Horticulture and therapeutic programs for psychiatry and disability, May 2009). Germination, growth, maturity, aging, death ... the link we establish with the living being that we protect from bad weather and disease refers us to our condition. However, some plants "can survive a disaster and grow again," he continues. A metaphor to ponder!

"It keeps you intellectually alert," notes Anne Chahine, 70 years old, 40 of whom is gardening, and who chairs the garden and health association. “You will be mesmerized by the interaction of insects and plants. We replace the species; we prune a bush in another way. A garden is always on the move. "Arranging it effectively stimulates cognitive functions. You have to know how to find your bearings in time and space, memorize the names of plants ... A school of patience and frustration, gardening also helps to strengthen your relational fabric and self-confidence, because amateurs exchange advice and receive compliments. And then, growing your own fruits and vegetables guarantees "fresh and pesticide-free" products! What to fill up with nutrients.

Gardening to keep fit

Only downside: this hobby hurts your back. Modern tools try to reduce pain and fatigue. And by taking care to vary the positions and to spare the spine, holding a watering can, mowing or clearing tones the whole body. Raking or trimming works for balance and flexibility. Repotting maintains joint mobility, including fine movements. "An individual can burn as many calories in 45 minutes as they do in 30 minutes of aerobics," promises Denis Richard, who advocates this activity three times a week to keep fit. Do fitness exercises while maintaining a green space? You probably had to be English to invent it! It's called the "green gym". Unfortunately, this sporting, collective and ecological gardening, born in 1998, is slow to cross the Channel.

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