London: Providing cancer patients an opportunity for gardening can help them instil feelings of positivity, control and meaning, new research has found.
"The take-home message is that psychosocial interventions do not have to be complex, labour-intensive to deliver, or costly," said lead researcher Ceri Phelps from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea in Britain.
As nature is not always accessible, particularly for cancer patients who are frail or disadvantaged, the researchers prepared a feasibility study of a simple ecotherapy-based intervention in women affected by breast cancer.
Seven women from an existing breast cancer support group cultivated and customised their own indoor "garden bowls" for three months.
They started with a bowl, compost and three starter plants, which they took home and tended daily.
The women reported on their feelings and findings in diary entries.
"I think it does not matter whether you have just been diagnosed or whether it has been ten years down the road - it could be beneficial," one of the patients was quoted as saying when reflecting on her bowl.
The women felt that the process of tending the bowl and reflecting upon it led to feelings of positivity, control and meaning, the study said.
The findings appeared in the journal ecancermedicalscience.