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The Therapeutic Value Of Caring For Plants

Urban dwellers spend up to 90% of their time indoors. 

Furthermore, 80% of US adolescents and adults aren’t physically active as well.

The result? Anxiety, depression, heart diseases, and diabetes, among other health problems. 

The solution? Horticulture therapy or plant care therapy. In this article, we’re going to discuss eight therapeutic values of caring for plants:

Caring for plants promote exercising

Caring for plants encourage healthy eating

Plants boost air quality

Caring for plants reduce the risk of illness

Caring for plants relieve stress and anxiety

Caring for plants improve mood

Caring for plants increase attention span

Caring for plants boost self-esteem

Plant care therapy — the eight benefits

Promoting exercise

80% of U.S. adolescents and adults aren’t physically active. The lack of exercise leads to multiple health issues ranging from heart disease to depression. 

Thus, adults must engage in up to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The number is at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each day for children. 

Gardening offers you the chance. Harvard Medical School confirmed a 125-pound person can burn 135 calories with 30 minutes of general gardening activities. 

Furthermore, the exercise from gardening protects you against anxiety, depression, and diabetes. Children develop strength, motor skills, and can combat childhood obesity as well. 

Encouraging healthy eating

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed only 1 in 10 adults eats the recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits each day.  

Horticultural therapy techniques offer an answer. A Saint Louis University research found if you serve homegrown food to children, they’re twice as likely to eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day than the ones who’re not served homegrown products.

Furthermore, children prefer the taste of vegetables and fruits over other food when the fruits and vegetables are homegrown as well. 

Boosting air quality

Urban-dwellers spend up to 90% of their time indoors. However, air pollution is multiple times higher indoors than outdoors. Thus, spending such a long time indoors results in sick building syndrome. The symptoms of the disease include headaches, throat irritation, dizziness, and loss of concentration. 

Indoor plants therapy offers a perfect solution. Indoor plants remove high doses of benzene from the air within 24 hours. Furthermore, scientists have confirmed indoor plants can remove over 300 toxins called volatile organic compounds from indoor air as well.      

Reducing the risk of illness

A Washington State University study confirmed plants lower the amount of dust in rooms by up to 20%. The study further confirmed plants remove particulate matter from the air and add humidity to a room.

Furthermore, plants lower the chance of itchy eyes, runny noses, and irritated airways. As if all of it wasn’t enough, a study confirmed patients in hospital rooms experienced lower anxiety and fatigue, lower blood pressure, and higher pain tolerance in rooms with plants than the ones without plants as well. 

Thus, add plants to your interior plant design and lower the risk of illnesses.

Relieving stress and anxiety

Is caring for plants therapeutic? A study published in the ‘Journal of Health Psychology’ confirmed cortisol levels significantly lowered while gardening. 

Another study published in the ‘Journal of Physiological Anthropology’ observed two groups of participants. One group was assigned computer tasks while the other group transplanted indoor plants. After the participants finished the tasks, the groups switched.   

The researchers discovered the subjects felt more relaxed and comfortable after transplanting the plants rather than the computer tasks. Thus, the researchers concluded interacting with plants lowers stress levels. 

Improving mood

A survey conducted at 4 San Francisco Bay Area hospitals found 79% of patients felt more calm and relaxed after spending time in a garden. Furthermore, 19% felt more positive while 25% felt stronger and refreshed as well.      

Toiling in the garden releases feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Furthermore, a study found a bacterium in soil — Mycobacterium vaccae — triggers serotonin release which lowers anxiety and lifts mood. 

Another study found older patients reported improved episodic memory and brighter moods after receiving flowers. Furthermore, women participants reported more positive moods even three days later after receiving flowers as well.    

Increasing attention span

Horticulture therapy courses increase attention span. Here’s data to prove the statement. 

A study published in the ‘American Journal of Public Health’ found activities carried around plants significantly lowered symptoms of ADHD when compared to other settings. 

When you combine the research findings with the fact that 6.1 million children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD, the benefits become even more significant.  

The American Society for Horticultural Science confirmed students scored higher in science tests when they engaged in gardening activities than when they only studied in a traditional classroom setting. Furthermore, when children are outside in a natural environment, their attention span and memory performance improve by up to 20% as well. 

Are these reasons enough for you to believe in horticultural therapy benefits?

Boosting self-esteem

When children care for plants and watch plants grow, children observe a transformation. The process helps children understand their transformation from a child to a young adult. 

Gardeners feel proud when the harvesting time comes near. Thus, the process helps them achieve self-worth.    

Furthermore, in this age of social media, children, and teens feel pressured that they must look a certain way or feel depressed comparing themselves with others. Taking care of plants offers them a much-needed break from social media which in turn boosts the child’s self-esteem.

Plant care therapy is here to stay

Primary-care doctors now give patients ‘social prescriptions’ to engage in activities such as volunteering at a local community park. The activity is thought to be equal to antidepressants or talk therapy. 

In this article, you’ve learned eight therapeutic values of caring for plants:

How caring for plants help you get exercise

How caring for plants help you eat healthily

How plants boost air quality

How caring for plants reduce the risk of illness

How caring for plants relieve stress and anxiety

How caring for plants improve mood

How caring for plants increase attention span

How caring for plants boost self-esteem

We hope the information will encourage you to care for plants more.