Arboretum News

Healing through Nature

The Arboretum's Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program collaborates with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

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Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

By Jean Larson, manager of the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Arboretum’s Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (NBT) has been collaborating with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital (UMMCH) for the past seven years. Most recently, to add an NBT program into their Integrative Health team. Together the Director of Integrative Medicine, Dr. Lynn Gershan, along with Heather Benson (NBT mental health specialist) are integrating nature into the hospital’s overall healing interventions.  

This program collaboration is vital and based on a growing body of research suggesting exposure to nature can help children to:

  • reduce symptoms of neurodiversity (Autism)
  • prevent or reduce myopia
  • improve vitamin D deficiency 
  • improve social bonding
  • increase exercise
  • reduce violence
  • stimulate creativity
  • help raise standardized test scores
  • improve depression

While we know the nature-based interventions will not cure any of the children’s disease or illnesses – what we do know is NBT will address the secondary symptoms such as pain, nausea and anxiety – symptoms Dr. Gershan believes to be the most ubiquitous and pervasive.  

We are thrilled to be part of this dynamic and pioneering program. Stay tuned for more information as it evolves.

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