Horticultural therapy: the 'healing garden'and gardening in rehabilitation measures at Danderyd Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic, Sweden.
J Appl Genet. 2007;48(3):189-98. PMID: 15513768
Department of Public Health and Caring Science, Uppsala University, Sweden. [email protected]
OBJECTIVES: Objectives were to review the literature on horticultural therapy and describe the Danderyd Hospital Horticultural Therapy Garden and its associated horticultural therapy programme. DESIGN: The literature review is based on the search words 'gardening', 'healing garden' and 'horticultural therapy'. The description is based on the second author's personal knowledge and popular-scientific articles initiated by her. The material has been integrated with acknowledged occupational therapy literature. SETTING: The setting was the Danderyd Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic, Sweden, Horticultural Therapy Garden. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-six patients with brain damage participated in group horticultural therapy. RESULTS: Horticulture therapy included the following forms: imagining nature, viewing nature, visiting a hospital healing garden and, most important, actual gardening. It was expected to influence healing, alleviate stress, increase well-being and promote participation in social life and re-employment for people with mental or physical illness. The Horticultural Therapy Garden was described regarding the design of the outdoor environment, adaptations of garden tools, cultivation methods and plant material. This therapy programme for mediating mental healing, recreation, social interaction, sensory stimulation, cognitive re-organization and training of sensory motor function is outlined and pre-vocational skills and the teaching of ergonomical body positions are assessed. CONCLUSION: This study gives a broad historic survey and a systematic description of horticultural therapy with emphasis on its use in rehabilitation following brain damage. Horticulture therapy mediates emotional, cognitive and/or sensory motor functional improvement, increased social participation, health, well-being and life satisfaction. However, the effectiveness, especially of the interacting and acting forms, needs investigation.