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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Horticulture Therapy Week 3/15-3/21/09

National Horticultural Therapy Week (NHTW) , held from March 15- 21, 2009 is about promoting the practice and profession of horticulture as therapy. AHTA, its chapters, members, and any and everyone who want to host an horticultural therapy event or site visit can participate.

This is a FAQ copied from the following website http://www.ahta.org/information/faq.cfm to answer common questions about Horticulture Therapy. Please explore other information available on that website.

What is horticultural therapy (HT)?

Horticultural therapy (HT) is the engagement of a person in gardening-related activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific treatment goals.AHTA believes that horticultural therapy is an active process which occurs in the context of an established treatment plan. HT is an effective and beneficial treatment for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

What is a therapeutic garden?

Therapeutic garden environments offer individuals the opportunity to connect to the natural world, with or without facilitation. AHTA believes that thepassive experience of a garden can improve health and well-being.

Where can horticultural therapy and therapeutic gardens be found?

Around the country, at exceptional, progressive facilities with staff who understand the merits of horticultural therapy and therapeutic gardening. That includes:. Rehabilitation programs. Vocational and occupational training. Psychiatric and mental health clinics. Hospitals. Correctional facilities. Public and private schools. Nursing homes and senior centers. Community and botanic gardens.

How is it used?

As a cognitive therapy, HT helps clients learn new skills and regain those lost. Improved memory, initiation of tasks and attention to detail are recognized HT benefits. Social growth occurs: people caring for plants learn responsibility and experience hopeful and nurturing feelings. HT used in physical rehabilitation retrains muscles and improves coordination, balance and strength. In vocational HT settings, people learn to work independently, solve problems and follow directions.

Who benefits from HT?

Adults and children with physical, psychological and developmental disabilities. Those recovering from illness or injury. People wishing to improve their quality of life in hospice or nursing home settings. Victims of abuse and their abusers, public offenders and recovering addicts all find HT rewarding.

How does horticultural therapy help?

People respond positively to green plants and colorful flowers. Gardening offers relief from physical and cognitive limitations, reduces stress, gently exercises aging or arthritic joints, and stimulates memory. Caring for plants inspires hope.

What are its advantages?

HT is a simple, "low tech" treatment to implement which has proven positive outcomes. It is non-threatening to the client, encourages social activity, improves memory, provides sensory stimulation and exercise, reduces stress and tension, diminishes anger and rewards nurturing behavior. HT prepares people with disabilities for employment in horticultural businesses and farms, by teaching how food and other plant-related commodities are grown and marketed.

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