Woman uses flowers as therapy at Poland

Tuesday 13 June 2017 2 weeks ago 34   Poland    Print

File Photo.

Report  Web desk : RUSKIE PIASKI: An elderly woman leans over to smell a lush flowerbed of lavender in sprawling gardens surrounding an imposing early 20th-century palace in a pastoral corner of eastern Poland. Slowly a smile lights up her face, erasing her previous stony expression — she suffers from paranoid schizophrenia which often renders her emotionless. The sudden burst of happiness is one of the benefits of horticultural, or garden therapy, as it is better known. She is among 59 female patients at this state-run, mental health care home in the village of Ruskie Piaski who are undergoing the springtime treatment, introduced here in 2014. “Gardens provide an environment that stimulates many senses; the patient can smell the scents of flowers and plants, touch them, and even get pricked by thorns,” says biological scientist Bozena Szewczyk-Taranek, who has created a horticultural therapy training course at the Agricultural University of Krakow, due to start in September. “It also facilitates physical exercise, for example for patients who have problems with balance, they can hop from one stone to another. “But when we have intellectually-impaired patients, we must make sure there are no toxic plants in the gardens like yews, hydrangeas or lily of the valley,” 02