Does horticultural therapy fit in integrative medicine?

C.A. Shoemaker
Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that considers the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative. Horticultural therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of horticulture interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Horticultural therapy addresses social, psychological, physical and cognitive health outcomes. A review of the profession of horticultural therapy in the United States, how it is practiced, and the evidence-base that informs the practice was studied to determine if horticultural therapy fits in the integrative approach. The integrative approach considers the physical, emotional, mental, behavioral, social, spiritual, and environmental influences on human health and well-being. Many of the most common chronic diseases - cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental disorders - are linked to behavioral or environmental risk factors. Evidence is accumulating that many of these conditions can be mitigated and even avoided altogether if people make better lifestyle choices. Thus, in addition to addressing and handling the immediate health problem(s) as well as the deeper cause of the disease or illness, integrative medicine strategies also focus on prevention and foster the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self-care that patients can use throughout their lives. Horticultural therapy can fit into integrative medicine because it can affect many of the influences on human health and well-being and can be useful in prevention and behavior change through lifestyle choices.
Shoemaker, C.A. (2019). Does horticultural therapy fit in integrative medicine?. Acta Hortic. 1246, 11-16
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1246.2
human health, human well-being, garden therapy