Vitamin Junkeys

Horticultural Therapy Ep 46

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Horticultural Therapy

Vitamin Junkeys Episode #46 (running time 8:37)
Date: June 16, 2009
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of the Podshow Music Network
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)

Special Guest: Nancy Lee Colibaba, Horticultural Therapy Co-ordinator, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)

This episode examines:

What is horticultural therapy?

How has the Royal Botanical Gardens been using horticultural therapy?

Who is using horticultural therapy as part of their programming?

What horticultural therapy initiatives are currently in place at the Royal Botanical Gardens?

What's Dr. JJ taking today?

Dr. JJ is taking Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, it has anti-cancer properties, and can help prevent scurvey.  Research has also shown that by taking a low dose of Vitamin C, as low as 100, it can help delay the onset of cataracts by about 10 years.

What is horticultural therapy?

Horticultural therapy or plant therapy is using plants or plant-related activities to improve quality of life.  Regardless of what the person's current state of ability, horticultural therapy can either help an individual improve or maintain their level of ability.

How has the Royal Botanical Gardens been using horticultural therapy?

Nancy mainly services geriatric facilities or long term care facilities.  She works with individuals who have a keen interest in plants.  Most people had been gardeners or farmers and are able to relate to the plants on various levels.  For example when she works with them and perhaps is working with the soil, the participants are using their fine motor skills and gross motor skills.  They are being educated and learning new things about the plant.  Nancy is also doing a quiz to keep their mind active.  The participants benefit from the therapy without even realizing it.

Participants work on their communication skills as they share their opinions on the plants and information from past experiences.  Nancy often learns from the participants.

There is also the social aspect of the therapy, as participants are interacting with others during the sessions.

Who is using horticultural therapy as part of their programming?

(Individuals take courses to become a horticultural therapist.  In the United States there are college courses for individuals to become horticultural therapists.  These individuals would be on a similar level as an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist.)

Many facilities are learning about the benefits of horticultural therapy.  Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, (a mental health facility) and Penetanguishene Mental Health Facility (in Ontario) is using horticultural therapy.  Penetanguishene has an outdoor gardening program.  A variety of children's facilities, cancer facilities or facilities where there are physical disabilities are also using horticultural therapy because they are finding it is an easy program to get people interested in.  Cancer patients often work on a peace garden, tranquil garden or healing garden, so when they are making very important decisions, they have some place with solace where they can be in a better frame of mind to make these decisions.  When cancer patients are going through their treatments, it is important to be around plants, so they are in a calmer state of mind to help their bodies handle the chemicals from the therapies.

What horticultural therapy initiatives are currently in place at the Royal Botanical Gardens?

The Royal Botanical Gardens has developed a horticultural therapy certificate program to help educate people about horticultural therapy as a career.  These courses are perfect for occupational therapists and recreational therapists who want to incorporate horticultural therapy into their practice.

The program will count towards the volunteer certification with the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association.

The Nancy was also in Chile recently training individuals in horticultural therapy and to help support them in achieving their certification with the Chilean Horticultural Therapy Association.

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Camera: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production 
Editor: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production
Sound Recordist: Jeffery Magat, Eqtion 

Special thanks to:

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