After that post on books, I found yet another book. It is an obscure little volume, only 92 pages: Ikebana is Better than Therapy (2004) by Susumu Uyeda. Although it was not at all what I expected, this book has its own charm in the few lines that grace each page. The author himself says in the foreword that these are “…rather whimsical and fun thoughts….”
For several years (decades, now) I have been saying, “Ikebana is better than therapy.” The first time those words escaped my lips I was in a lesson with several others who agreed wholeheartedly. Since that time, I have wanted to write a book, or at least an essay, about the therapeutic benefits of Ikebana. Now, I know that it is a worthy topic; maybe my book will be at least twice as long.
Think about the last time you gave flowers to someone. What was the result? How about the last time you received flowers, how did you feel? Whether the flowers are for a congratulatory event, during recuperation from illness, condolence for loss, or just for being you; they bring cheer. That is the therapeutic benefit of flowers, especially the simple line-strong arrangements of Ikebana. Therefore, not only does the designer benefit from handling and arranging the plant materials, the recipient benefits therapeutically as well. An in-depth discussion of this phenomenon will have to wait for my book.