A pilot randomized controlled trial of group-based indoor gardening and art activities demonstrates therapeutic benefits to healthy women


Plants as autotrophic organisms provide the foundations of life for humans and most other heterotrophic life forms on Earth. Moreover, plants have been an essential part of the human condition over the last two million years, and their collective role in our survival, evolution, and cognitive development is unparalleled [1]. The early stages of plant cultivation in the Upper Paleolithic Period and domestication of plants and farming in the Neolithic Period [2] gave rise to the emergence of cities and civilizations. Thus, the cultivation of plants, gardens, and gardening has been an enduring integral factor in our adaptive ability and well-being as a species. A case has been made that through learning and evolutionary processes, interactions with natural environments and living organisms, and our dependence upon nature for various ecological services, we are programmed to be innately attracted to plants and nature [3]. However, connections with nature in the modern world have become fewer over time as global urbanization has resulted in increasing barriers to the accessibility of plants and natural environments. Visiting and experiencing gardens and gardening are two types of people-plant interactions that can provide access to nature for urban populations.

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