Gardening for Health and Happiness

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Some benefits of gardening include:

  • Fresh air
  • Natural outdoor light
  • Natural aromatherapy from plants
  • Sensible sunshine exposure for vitamn D
  • Relaxation and stress reduction
  • Physical activity (squatting, bending, pulling, pushing, carrying)
  • Improved hand dexterity and strength
  • Develop friendships if performed in a group or community setting
  • Growing your own natural fruits and vegetables for good health and sustainability
  • Increasing fruit and vegetable intake
  • Sense of purpose


Gardening helps you use your senses to hea your mind and body through:

  • Touch – feeling the various textures of the plants and putting your hands in the soil
  • Sight – seeing an array of colors
  • Hearing – listening to the birds, rustling of the leaves or a backyard waterfall
  • Smell – detecting the aroma from a variety of plants such as mint, rosemary, and basil
  • Taste – enjoying the assortment of herbs in a salad or meal


Try growing the following in your backyard or greenhouse or in pots on your porch, balcony, patio, or windowsill:

  • Fruits – apples, berries, grapes, plums
  • Healing plants – aloe vera, lavender
  • Herbs – basil, mint, parsley, rosemary
  • Vegetables – cucumbers, tomatoes


Some precautions with gardening:

  • Be aware of excess sun exposure
  • Be aware that some individual who take certain medications may be photosensitive
  • Be aware that some individuals may have seasonal allergies to pollens
  • Be aware of insecticides and pesticides. Ideally, find natural alternatives
  • Be aware of dehydration if outdoors for prolonged periods
  • Be aware of heavy lifting and bending (especially for osteoporosis)


The following are selected studies relatiing to gardening:

  • Improve health and well-being.
    • A review by Howardth et al. (2020) found that “Gardens and gardening can improve the health and well-being for people with a range of health and social needs.”
  • Reducing obesity and metabolic risk
    • A study by Gatto et al. (2017) found that “LA Sprouts [a gardening, nutrition and cooking intervention] was effective in reducing obesity and metabolic risk…”
  • Improved children’s fruit and vegetable intake.
    • A systematic review by Savoie-Roskos et al. (2017) found that “…most studies suggest a small but positive influence of gardening interventions on children's fruit and vegetable (F/V) intake.”


Additional Resources:



  • Rawlings R. Healing Gardens. Minocqua, WI: Willow Creek Press; 1998.
  • Cooper-Marcus C, and Barnes M. (Eds.). Healing Gardens: Therapeutic.
  • Benefits and Design Recommendations. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons; 1999.
  • Cooper-Marcus C, and Sachs NA. Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence.
  • Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces.
  • Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2014. 
  • Gatto NM, Martinez LC, Spruijt-Metz D, Davis JN. LA Sprouts randomized controlled nutrition, cooking, and gardening program reduces obesity and metabolic risk in Hispanic/Latino youth. Pediatr Obes. 2017;12(1):28-37.
  • Howarth M, Brettle A, Hardman M, Maden M. What is the evidence for the impact of gardens and gardening on health and well-being: a scoping review and evidence-based logic model to guide healthcare strategy decision making on the use of gardening approaches as a social prescription. BMJ Open. 2020;10(7):e036923.

 Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Toolbox for Rehab and Pain Management

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.Price: $125.00          Experience Level: Beginner          Contact Hours: 45 hours

Course Dates: November 18

Description: This continuing education course is targeted to physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and other rehabilitation professionals. Brief lectures will focus on the research and resources and labs will cover a toolbox approach for creating clinically relevant pain, anxiety, depression, and stress management strategies using lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine, expressive and art-based therapies, and the impact of nature on health. Participants will be able to practice Tai Chi/Qigong, expressive and art-based therapies including Music, Dance, and Drama Therapy, nature and aromatic therapiesself-hypnosis and self-massage

This course was written and developed by Ziya “Z” Altug, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, a board-certified doctor of physical therapy with 32 years of experience in treating musculoskeletal conditions. He utilizes lifestyle and integrative medicine strategies in his clinical practice and is the author of Integrative Healing: Developing Wellness in the Mind and Body (Cedar Fort, Inc, 2018). Z Altug is member of the American Physical Therapy Association and American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has taken workshops in yoga, Pilates, tai chi, qigong, meditation, Feldenkrais Method and the Alexander Technique. types of shockwave devices, and what



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