Horticultural therapy activities are widely used in rehabiitation programmes. They can be adapted for virtually any population of patients, are easy to implement and relatively low cost. At the most basic level, patients can benefit from simply working with plants in a natural setting, spending time in relaxing garden environment or even completing therapy activities at the bedside.
Therapy in a rehabilitation context offers a wide range of benefits including:
Physical activity: Therapy encourages tolerance, endurance, strength and range of motion through fine motor skill exercises.
Cognitive/memory: Therapy helps patients develop sequencing and problem solving skills.
Emotional/ stress reduction: Therapy can improve mood and self-esteem through successful completion of a task that satisfies nurturing needs.
Social: Therapy offers a wide range of therapeutic benefits that can be realised through group activities. For example, activities can be designed to help patients develop socialisation skills, improve their understanding of universality and instill hope, as well as relearning fundamental social skills.
Pediatric patients with cerebral palsy benefit from the gentle physical work of horticultural activities. Because the environment is non-threatening, yet stimulating, it helps to motivate the children who enjoy having something tangible to show for their therapeutic work.