Ecotherapy helps breast-cancer patients regain sense of control

Study shows health benefits of indoor gardening

Research by University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) has shown that ecotherapy activities such as indoor gardening can help instill feelings of positivity and control in cancer patients.

While the benefits of nature-based activities are becoming more widely appreciated, patients such as those recovering from surgery may not be able to go outside. However, UWTSD's research shows that breast cancer patients who cultivated and cared for their own indoor garden bowl for a period of three months reported similarly positive feelings.

According to the study, the bowl provided the women with a means of reflecting on daily changes in their emotions, fostered feelings of hope and responsibility and a sense of control, and could be used as a focus for memories and personal mementoes.

Dr Ceri Phelps, co-author of the paper and head of psychology at UWTSD, said: 'The take-home message from this unique study is that firstly, psychosocial interventions do not have to be complex, labour-intensive to deliver or costly; and secondly that we need to recognise the importance of providing psychosocial support to those affected by cancer at all stages of their cancer journey – often way beyond diagnosis and initial survivorship.'

Read the full paper here

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