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 Jan 31, 2017

Plants provide welcome therapy

Being outdoors and enjoying the present moment is an important part of a new horticultural therapy program at the Wellness Centre.  It helps patients and their families enjoy a respite from the emotional turmoil of having cancer.

Engaging with plants and gardening is a wonderful way to offer people with cancer and their carers a way to connect with nature and get back to the basics, helping them to enjoy the present moment. The feel and texture of the soil, the scent of the plants and the ability to facilitate new life by propagating and watering helps to improve health and well-being of patients and their families.

“Using and engaging with gardens and plants helps people emotionally and physically,” explains Steven Wells, Horticultural Therapist at the ONJ Centre. “It can help patients re-connect with a hobby they may have lost the ability to do themselves, it can act as a diversion from the stress of cancer treatment, and it offers more broad health benefits like connecting with nature by being outdoors in the garden.”

Steven helps participants with propagating new plants, working in the herb garden, re-potting and creating planters to have around the Wellness Centre or to take home, and even garden-related craft activities like using grapevine canes to make wreaths.

“It’s so wonderful to see patients connecting with the garden and plants and enjoying the sensory engagement of fragrance and texture,” says Steven. “I loved seeing a patient recently sit back and enjoy seeing his two daughters connect with the garden and get pleasure out of doing something together with their father.  It was a welcome break for them all from the emotional and physical stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

We are so grateful to Dry July for providing funding for the Horticultural Therapy program for 2017.  

For inquiries or bookings please contact the Wellness Centre on 03 9496 3799 or email wellness@austin.org.au

Learn more about our Wellness Programs here.