Imagine walking in to an appointment with your mental health professional and leaving with a plant. This might seem a little strange, but it’s a form of therapy called Horticultural Therapy and it’s becoming a popular way to help people deal with depression and anxiety.
The idea of nature and garden environments providing therapeutic benefits has been around for centuries. Dr. Benjamin Rush was one of the first psychiatrists back in the 1800’s to actually document the positive effects that working in a garden could have on mental illness. There have also been many studies that link just being in nature to improvements in your mental state, blood pressure and stress levels.
So what exactly is Horticultural Therapy? Horticultural Therapy (HT) is the professional practice of using plants and gardening to help mental health. It is rooted in the idea that interacting with plants can bring about positive well-being. Horticultural Therapy stimulates thoughts, exercises the body, and encourages awareness of the external environment. This is important because having a close relationship with nature is something that is lacking in our modern lives. Just think: to work the soil for your food is one of the most basic human pursuits.
There are many different ways that HT is prescribed. It can be as simple as caring for a house plant or as complex as taking on a whole garden. The delivery of this therapy also widely varies. HT can be experienced on an individual level or as part of a community, and it also applies to all age segments.
For those struggling with depression and anxiety, the benefits of this type of therapy can be plentiful:
• Individuals can gain a sense of responsibility by having to care for other living things• Plants will not criticize which contributes to a boost in self-esteem• Plants allow us to relax and let go of the day to day worries• Gardening is rich in opportunities to practice mindfulness which allows for awareness in the present moment free from judgement• The sights and smells of a garden promote a us to tap into a carefree part of ourselves
HT may be worth exploring if you suffer from depression or anxiety. However, it might be best to seek additional professional help coupled with this type of therapy. Medications, such as antidepressants, or ketamine infusions for more severe or treatment-resistant cases of depression, can help when mental health issues interfere with your daily life. HT is a great way to support other methods of depression treatment.
Our Baton Rouge ketamine clinic brings hope to those suffering from severe cases of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychiatric disorders, as well as from chronic pain conditions. Ketamine infusions are effective for up to 70% of patients, delivering relief in as few as 1-2 infusions. If you are suffering from depression or chronic pain, and have tried everything to no avail, contact us today. Ketamine may be the light at the end of your tunnel…