Patients at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation are receiving a unique supplement to assist in their healing process: horticultural therapy. Whether it’s tilling the soil of a small plant or bonding with the program’s two bunnies, patients are finding it a helpful elixir in their recovery from surgery or other musculoskeletal ailments.
Gwenn Fried, who oversees horticultural therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation, says patients are initially taken aback when approached about participating in the program. “But once they become involved,” she tells The New York Times, “they immediately ask if they can have horticultural therapy tomorrow!”
The first documented benefits of horticultural therapy in the United States are credited to Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who noted the curative benefits of “digging in a garden.” It also has been used as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the First World War.
Lori Bloomberg, one of NYU Langone’s horticultural therapists, sums it up this way: “It’s a very spiritual practice. When you’re in the hospital, caregivers often focus on the physical. We try to focus on the things that may be forgotten.”
Read more from The New York Times.