Working with plants, good therapy for some

Capital News Service
LANSING – An increasing number of people in the state are exploring horticultural therapy, which uses no medicines, to treat childhood obesity, mental illnesses and brain injuries, according to the Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association. Instead, horticultural therapy uses plants and horticultural activities to improve a patient’s social, psychological and physical abilities, said Cathy Flinton, a horticultural therapist in East Lansing. Richard Mattson, a professor of horticultural therapy at Kansas State University, said, “By associating with plants and nature, we are working with living and responsive media with universal acceptance.”
Its benefits include stress reduction, economic savings, more nutritious food and improved community human interaction, he said. As an example, Mattson talked about a middle-aged woman in a psychiatric hospital suffering from depression who described her life as a dark tunnel. But while working in a greenhouse, she said, everything she touched did not die.