Recent studies have found out that sensory gardens may have a huge impact and have numerous benefits to people towards their physical health and overall wellbeing, especially those with a disability, which may include but are not limited to those suffering from Huntington’s chorea, spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, among others. Schools for disabled children often employe sensory gardens or similar to aid the wellbeing of their students.
1. Stimulates Their Sensory Nerves
From the name “sensory garden” itself, you’re not wrong in presuming that one of its main advantages is sensory stimulation! Sensory stimulation is often described when one or more of your senses are activated. Considering that many of our previous and current clients have been experiencing decreased, or even complete loss of some of their senses, a sensory garden activates some sensory inputs and even lets them enjoy nature and sunlight. In some cases, this helps some cases to those people who have dull sensation on their limbs.
2. Promotes Physical Activity
Simply walking, moving around and gardening activities play a huge impact and these physical activities have been proven to have many health benefits. For instance, it can help alleviate signs and symptoms of depression, lets people feel more physically active, can help improve their cardio-respiratory health and enhanced muscle strength, just to name a few. The sensory garden can also be placed near the pool or a gym and serve as a great outdoor space for therapy.
3. Socialisation and Participation
It takes a team to make an amazing sensory garden happen, and building one is a great opportunity for clients to socialise and even create a sense of community with everyone in the neighbourhood. People may find themselves building larger communities than their neighbourhood.
4. Regressed Agitation and Other Aggressive Behaviour
By being in the sensory garden alone and by doing some “gardening” tasks, it has been found out that this helps in reducing negative behaviours such as agitation and aggression. Most often, a sensory garden comes with a sensory modulation area – a small area adjacent to the garden itself that can be used for clients who are experiencing aggressive behaviour and uncontrollable outbursts. This is specifically made for people so they can let off some steam. Most of the time, this area is also equipped with weather-proof benches and some shade during the summer.
5. Perform Various Physical and Cognitive Challenges
In a sensory garden, it’s not just about plants and gardening, but there are also numerous physical and cognitive challenges they can participate in. These types of activities increase their motor activity and promote purposeful movement. Some activities may also challenge one’s balance, in a safe and controlled environment, and at the same time, stimulate their cognitive development with the help of these activities.
6. Releases Stress, Meditation, and Self-Reflection
Just like physical healing, emotional healing is just as important and the great thing about sensory gardens is that it can help with both. It opens up a safe, calm and open space for everyone who wishes to meditate and reflect on their lives. This can also be a great venue for families to just openly discuss matters, tell stories or simply bond with each other. Different factors influence the calming environment, which may include but are not limited to music, water features, the scent of edible plants, and even the natural environment sounds. With the help of relaxation, stress can be released and eventually may have different physical benefits such as lowered blood pressure.
7. Promotes a Sense of Accomplishment
Adding to our list of benefits of a sensory garden, it also gives people the sense that they have accomplished something, whether it be related to gardening or some other activities. For instance, people who were able to plant, grow and take care of edible plants give them a sense of pride and opens up a whole new world of interest, and in turn, helps clients happy and improves their overall sense of achievement. Other benefits related to this is that a sensory garden helps motivate a client, which is known to be PERMA positive.
8. Reduces Fatigue and Provides Mental Clarity
The last, but not the least, among the 8 benefits of sensory gardens is that they have been proven to help reduce fatigue and enhances mental clarity. It’s all because of the fresh air! By activating the sense of smell, this makes use of stored memory which in turn then increases neural activity.