TL;DR Science: Horticulture Therapy

By Iman K.
November 18, 2022 · 3 minute read

Medicine

Biology

Biological Engineering

Chemistry

Anxiety. It isn’t tangible but can overwhelm someone to the point of seeming so. The dictionary definition is: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” This feeling can transform from an internal feeling to something with an external presence easily. However, there are ways to dissuade these negative emotional sensations. 

Since anxiety related disorders often involve overwhelming feelings of nervousness, fear, and restlessness, symptoms are often displayed physically (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Therapy can be communication based, or involve both medication and counseling. Anxiety disorders impede the ability to complete daily tasks, and therapy aims to limit symptoms enough to resume activities those with anxiety refrain from participating in (National Alliance on Mental Health, 2017). One of the most advantageous cognitive or emotional principles for chronically anxious people is acquiring person-specific stress management strategies and sharing them within support groups (American Psychiatric Association, 2017).

(PixaBay, 2020) 

An example of a strategy that could be used to treat a disorder like this is Horticultural therapy. This method of therapy is defined as the involvement of a person in various plant based activities to achieve a therapeutic treatment goal. Horticultural therapy provides physiological, social, and physical benefits associated with alleviating the symptoms produced by an anxiety disorder. Diagnoses of aforementioned disorders are typically accompanied by overwhelming feelings that lead to having a difficult time concentrating on anything other than fear.

People-plant interactions create an avenue for mindfulness-based activities to focus on, and allow a breath of fresh air in the midst of extreme angst. In addition, anxiety causes increased heart rate and stress levels, which is a cortisol mediated response (APA, 2017). Research indicates horticultural therapy is an effective strategy at lowering cortisol levels and decreasing heart rates. A horticultural therapy program provides benefits unique to alternative treatments. Social engagement provided by horticultural therapy can provide a support-group type atmosphere, which can be much more inviting than a typical cognitive-behavioral client-therapist interaction. In addition, many who suffer from anxiety disorders have trouble sleeping (MC,2018). Horticultural therapy involves added exercise and engagement that other treatment plans do not, leading to a healthier bedtime routine. Exercise is one of many physical benefits that horticultural therapy offers, which is strongly correlated with a reduced heart rate and a sense of relief from stress, thus leading to better rest.

(Alamy, 2010)

Through the interaction with a therapeutic garden and under the care of a licensed horticultural therapist, great improvements can take place in a patient’s treatment plan. Some aspects of a therapeutic garden include: raised planting beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant variety with respect to color, smell and texture. Keep in mind that these types of gardens do tend to be extremely accommodating to people with disabilities, so all patients are able to participate in this unique treatment technique. Patients can help in planting new plants, removing weeds, or organizing rows within one of the flower beds as a part of their therapy plan. In essence, horticultural therapy would be an advantageous technique to include in the treatment plan of those who have an anxiety disorder.

Did you enjoy this article?

About The Author

Iman Khalid is a Sophomore student at the University of Florida studying Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. She enjoys running, reading, and horseback riding in her free time. For any comments, questions, or concerns, contact Iman at iman@sciteens.org.

More on this topic...

TL;DR Science: Oncogenes

Perhaps you may have heard someone say at one point “I am at risk for ___ cancer, so I have to take extra precautions…”. Or, you may have heard the claim that “Sunscreen can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer”. Two questions consequently arise: first, how do we actually know of cancer risk; second, what does it mean to be at risk? To start we have to look at our cells’ DNA and what can happen if it becomes mutated. 

TL;DR Speaker Series: Biomedical Engineering: A Multipotential STEM Major

Introducing our new speaker series only at Sciteens! Starting off the series we have Jana Al Hinnawi and her experience as a biomedical engineering major.

TL;DR Science: Catching the Love Bug: Falling in Love + Hormonal Changes

What would you say if I told you falling in love was more than just grand, romantic gestures and butterflies in your stomach but rather microscopic molecules altering your brain chemistry?

TL;DR Science: Exercise and the Brain

It’s a given that exercise is beneficial for the mind and body, but little attention is paid to the differential effects of exercise on the body. In this article, we explore two popular exercise methods, along with recently discovered correlates between the exercises and the nervous system.

TL;DR Science: Patterns in the Periodic Table - Introductory Chemistry

The periodic table is a way of organizing the various chemical elements. As you may or may not know, the table is organized by the number of protons and electrons in the atom (known as the atomic number) and its average atomic mass. However, what if I told you that patterns existed within the periodic table beyond just succeeding atomic number after number? Find out more in this week's article!