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Anxiety And Depression: Why Doctors Prescribe Gardening Instead Of Medication

Anxiety And Depression: Why Doctors Prescribe Gardening Instead Of Medication

A Manchester medical office advises depression and anxiety patients to do gardening instead of prescribing medication. Living conditions have become particularly difficult in recent years, more and more people seem to suffer from an inner discomfort that manifests itself through anxiety or depression. In order to combat this ailment, health professionals generally prescribe drug treatments. To avoid using it, doctors in Manchester have discovered a surprising alternative: gardening. The Independent and Paris Match take stock of this new form of therapy.

Anxiety And Depression

Embedded in cities, surrounded by buildings and dwellings, humans have for years been cut off from what once was their only environment: nature. However, more and more people are realizing the importance of the latter for our well-being. Gardens, plantations and vegetable gardens take over urban spaces, thus promoting the pleasure of the senses. This trend is also seen in a myriad of doctors who, to treat their patients with depression and anxiety, recommend a 100% natural alternative based on exposure to nature and community gardening.

Exposure to nature improves general well-being

Several studies confirm this observation. As Le Figaro reminds us, in 1986, two scientists, Ulrish and Simons, already demonstrated the power of plants to improve our well-being. They affirmed that the sight of the vegetation made it possible to reduce the symptoms associated with stress, in particular by promoting muscle relaxation, reducing blood pressure and rebalancing the heart rate.

Today, and as the Journal de Montréal indicates, it is Richard Kimberlee, a researcher from the University of the West of England, who confirms this assertion. He explains that in the Devon region, a gardening program has been set up for people suffering from mental disorders.

Green thumb and healthy mind
While being exposed to nature already makes a significant contribution to improving morale and mental health, gardening also brings its seed. Scientists have found that gardening is highly beneficial for general health. Indeed, this activity would not only get closer to nature and feel in harmony with it, but also give life to a project that we can deal with continuously.

Community gardening against depression and anxiety

In order to combat ailments such as depression or anxiety, doctors in Manchester advise their patients to devote themselves to "community gardening", that is to say to practice this activity as part of a project group rather than individually. The reason behind this is that gardening in a community setting can encourage patients to adopt healthier behaviors by drawing inspiration from each other. Augusta Ward, the medical secretary at the origin of this idea, explains to the newspaper The Independent, that the plants they give to patients are mainly aromatic herbs like lemongrass and mint and then add "Having something which one can take care of brings so many advantages to people (…) Gardening is then a reason to return to the office and get involved in all other activities ”.

A sense of belonging
Participating in a community project gives a sense of belonging to a group, and this strong sense of community contributes significantly to improving the health of individuals. Indeed, community gardening requires a certain cooperation and collective planning that create a sense of community and at the same time allow participants to feel surrounded. Dr. Philippa James, one of the medical members active in the operation, said he noted how the patients relaxed in the garden and got involved in the events. She adds: "There is a lot of evidence today that shows that 2 hours a week in green space can improve mood."

However, it should be noted that if the method seems to show its effectiveness, this form of therapy is not unanimous. As the Journal de Montréal recalls, a 2016 study in the British Medical Journal found that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these methods.