What science says: gardening is good for you?

You may wonder what to do with that piece of land in the garden of your home. This week we asked our experts to tell us the science behind having a garden, so grab a shovel because there job for a while.

“Well says your worship” says Candide in the last line of Voltaire’s novel of the same name, “but we must work out our garden”.

Before becoming a professional gardener and horticulturist had to study this text in high school and my teacher taught us that the phrase had a more metaphorical than literal sense: it comes to search your vocation and not get down to work the land.

However, Voltaire himself who he believed that maintaining a garden was a good way to maintain sanity and combat stress : all this 300 years ago. It turns out that science says that Voltaire was right.

what-science-says-gardening-is-good-for-youThe science of horticulture therapy

While the gardens and landscapes are considered as sanctuaries and shelters to escape the stress: whether the large urban park like Central Park in New York or the garden in a suburban house. But more than the passive enjoyment of a garden or the fact that in nature, researchers have also studied what role can have the care of the plants therapeutic and educational level.

“Therapeutic Horticulture” and “horticultural therapy” and listed as recognized against stress and depression, aid serving different institution treatments: from prisons to mental health centers, to schools and hospitals.

Gardening and school

Studies with gardening programs in schools (which usually focus on growing food) show that students who have worked on the design, creation and maintenance of gardens develop more positive attitudes about health, nutrition and consumption of vegetables.

Also they get better grades in natural sciences, have a better predisposition to go to school and improve their interpersonal skills and classroom behavior.

Research conducted on students confirms that gardening increases levels of self -esteem and responsibility. Studies suggest that incorporating gardening in schools can increase social cohesion.

Gardening and mental health

It has been shown that gardening programs as increase the quality of life in people with chronic mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression.

Another study on the use of therapeutic horticulture in patients with clinical depression focuses on why gardening programs get results in reducing symptoms of depression. The researchers determined that gardening activities structured gave them to patients existential sense, or what is the same, gave meaning to their lives.

Programs used in prisons and correction centers, horticultural therapy has been used to provide domestic productive activities that reduce aggression and hostility not only during the time of internment, but also after his release.

In a comprehensive study of a program in San Francisco, participation in therapeutic horticulture succeeded especially in improving the psychosocial behavior among prisoners (although the benefits are not always maintained after release from prison).

It has been shown that gardening has improved the living conditions of military veterans, as well as homeless. Several programs horticultural therapy that have been used to help people with learning disabilities, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of torture. More reviews on http://www.bifmr-ustc.org/