in HortScience
Author: Joel Flagler1
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  • 1 Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, 327 Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus, N.J. 07652

It has been observed that the process of horticulture can help to heal physical, mental, and social disabilities. Professionally trained horticultural therapists prescribe and administer planting and gardening activities to provide benefits to people of all ages and abilities. Horticultural therapy programs are now commonplace in hospitals, geriatric centers, schools, rehabilitation facilities, community gardens and prisons. One common goal in all of these programs is to help heal, teach and retrain individuals through the use of plants.

As a result of repeated successes, horticulture is being widely accepted as an effective therapeutic tool. Research is underway to measure the effectiveness of horticultural therapy in clinical and correctional settings. Databases are being developed to document and substantiate the beneficial effects of horticulture on human well-being. With such research results we can better understand the value of horticultural therapy in the recovery and rehabilitation processes.

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