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MANDALA

CENTER FOR SPIRITUALITY & HEALING the GROWTH issue


Spring 2014
The healing power
of nature
Hatha Yoga Teacher
Training Program Offers
Opportunities for Growth
INSIDE:
Wellbeing in Action:
The Waters Senior Living
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I love this quote from
the American writer
John Gardner. He
goes on to say that you
build meaning out of
your past, out of your
affections and loyalties,
out of your own talent
and understanding, out of the things you
believe in, out of the things and people you
love, and out of the values for which you are
willing to sacrice something.
I am often asked the question what draws
people to the Center and holds the Center
together. It is not an altogether easy question
to answer. When the Center began almost 20
years ago, we anticipated that we would draw
students in the health sciences to our courses
and programs. That certainly happened! What
we didnt anticipate was that students from
literally every school and college on campus
would enroll in our academic courses, and that
our faculty would grow to represent the rich
diversity for which the University of Minnesota
is known.
While health science students take courses that
will expand their knowledge base and skills
so that they can be more effective health care
providers and healers, we have law students
interested in integrating mindfulness into
their practices or focusing on contemplative
law. Music students interested in learning
how to better manage stress and performance
anxiety also take our courses along with
horticulture students exploring horticulture
therapy, and business students wanting to learn
applications of mindfulness in leadership. As
you can imagine, this creates an incredible
environment for learning and discovery.
For many of the students and faculty, their
relationship with the Center is a core strategy
for building meaning into their life. Their
Center work fuels their passions and is aligned
with their deepest values.
The University is embarking on a bold, new
strategic plan that will focus on solving great
challenges the global issues that the world
faces today. In parallel with this effort, the
Center has begun its next cycle of strategic
planning. We are in the process of asking the
hard questions what are the compelling
issues and opportunities within our scope of
inuence, and how do we grow and leverage
the assets of the Center to meet those needs.
We know that partnerships within the
University and the community will be key to
our success as will philanthropic support. We
are curious about what is on your mind and
what you see as the trends and issues that we
should be noticing. We are very open to any
feedback or suggestions that you might have.
Feel free to email me at kreit003@umn.edu.
I recently met with a PhD student from abroad
who came to the University of Minnesota to
pursue a degree in a eld that she thought
would be her focus for decades to come.
While she is in the nal stages of nishing
that degree, she is also completing a graduate
certicate in integrative therapies and healing
practices. When she returns to her country
of origin, she has an entirely new vision and
plan of what she will be doing in her career as
a result of the time she spent at the Center for
Spirituality & Healing. She asked to meet with
me so that she could explain how she came to
the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree
and is leaving with so much more. Hearing
stories like that are inspirational and remind
us of the privilege we have in doing the work of
the Center for Spirituality & Healing.
Yours in wellbeing,
Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN
Founder and Director, Center for
Spirituality & Healing
Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or
the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.
- John Gardner
2 3 CENTER FOR SPIRITUALITY & HEALING
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Table of CONTENTS
Nature, Spirituality, and Healing: Page 4
How Nature Benefits Your Wellbeing
Wellbeing in Action: Page 6
The Waters Senior Living
Music Therapy Study Page 10
Offers Harmonious Growth Opportunities
Folk Medicine: Page 12
Doctors Must Understand It, And More
Craig Blacklock
Re-potting Our Lives
My Life as a Rams-Head Ladys-Slipper Page 14
A Forest of Wellbeing: Page 16
How the Center has Blossomed from Simple Seeds
Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Program Page 18
Empowers Students, Fosters Personal and
Professional growth
Center Academic Offerings Page 19
for Summer and Fall
COVER ARTWORK courtesy of Center Senior Fellow Craig Blacklock. Mr. Blacklock,
a renowned photographer, collaborates with the Center on our Wellscapes video
series. For more information about Wellscapes, please visit http://z.umn.edu/
wellscapes or to learn more about Craig Blacklock, visit www.blacklockgallery.com
AUTHORS: Craig Blacklock, Matt DePoint, Annie Heiderscheit, Jean Larson,
Dianne Lev, Andrea Uptmor
PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Brady, Craig Blacklock, Kit Breshears, Token Media,
courtesy of The Waters Senior Living
DESIGN: Jo Peneld
Mandala, a biannual publication, is produced by the University of Minnesotas
Center for Spirituality & Healing. Detailed information about Center research,
events, academic courses, workshops, and more can be found on our website
at csh.umn.edu. Letters to the editor must include name, address, telephone
number, and email address.
EDITOR: Kit Breshears
cbreshea@umn.edu
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS:
Pamela Cherry
Thomas Olson
Andrea Uptmor
Center for Spirituality & Healing
Mayo Memorial Building, MMC #505
420 Delaware St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
www.csh.umn.edu
2 3 SPRING 2014 MANDALA
4 5 CENTER FOR SPIRITUALITY & HEALING

Hospital
patients
recover
faster when
they can view
nature.
Working with plants can
improve concentration,
encourage relaxation, and
improve self-esteem. Digging
in rich, black soil just feels
good. But why?
There is a depth of mystery in
the natural world. The emerging
eld called Nature-Based Therapeutics
which includes, but isnt limited to
therapeutic horticulture, horticultural therapy,
restorative environments, therapeutic landscapes,
and healing gardens invites us into natures
mystery.
This distinctive connection between humans
and other living systems called biophilia by
Edward O. Wilson offers a glimpse of something
extraordinary, a journey into the realm of the sacred.
I often hear from clients, students, staff, and others
about the experience of something deeply spiritual
when immersed in nature and all of its beauty.
Some experience an awareness of how limited
our grasp of nature is when taken in all its vast
complexity. These moments are at the heart of the
Nature-Based Therapeutic experience what Ive
come to know over the years as the inexplicable
transformational power of spirituality and healing
when partnering with nature.
As a therapist, one of my primary goals is to bring
people into the signicant or sacred on a daily basis.
It is astonishing to witness the healing power of
nature. Experiences in nature help people embrace
their journey of self-discovery. Nature can open
the door to our innate intelligence, awaken the
sacred within, and help us to see that everything
is connected with a shared purpose, rhythm, and
balance.
HOW ELSE CAN NATURE AFFECT
WELLBEING?
Reduced stress enhanced immune function
While physiologic indicators of stress can
decrease after exposure to nature, indicators
of immune response can increase, according to
research reported in 2011 (International Journal of
Immunopathology and Pharmacology). Subjects
who visited a forested area were found to have
enhanced activity of their natural killer (NK) cells.
These cells provide a rapid response to cells
infected with a virus and also attack tumor cells.
In addition, the same individuals had higher
levels of anticancer proteins within their
NK cells.
Improved cognition
Research has shown that cognitive
benets gained by working with
plants include improvements
in concentration, ability to
remember, and ability to pay
attention. Additionally,
research reported
in the Journal of
Advanced
Nursing
(2010) suggests
that working with
plants may also ameliorate clinical
depression. After participating in a 12-week program
of therapeutic horticulture, 50 percent of depressed
patients studied showed a clinically relevant decline
in their scores on a depression-measuring test.
This reduction in depression continued to be in
effect when measured three months after the
program ended.
Multiple studies have found that cognitive
malfunctioning in children diagnosed with attention
decit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) improves
upon exposure to nature, reported Biopsychosocial
Medicine in 2012. One study found that performance
on concentration-requiring tasks was higher after
the children tested had spent time in a natural,
wooded area, compared to a built, urban area.
Another study suggested that children with
ADHD showed milder symptoms when engaged
in activities in an outdoor environment than
when engaged in the same activities in an indoor,
windowless play area.





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Not only can interacting with the natural
environment reduce stress and improve both
immune and cognitive functioning, it may also help
counter health inequalities associated with lower
socioeconomic status (Biopsychosocial Medicine
2012). That was the conclusion of researchers who
found that people who had low income but high
levels of residential green space had mortality rates
comparable to people of higher socioeconomic
status. In contrast, people who had low
income but little residential green
space had higher mortality
rates than their wealthier
counterparts.
Applications
The idea that exposure
to nature can heal
has given rise to such
adjunctive therapies
as therapeutic
horticulture and
therapeutic landscape
design. Therapeutic
landscape design has
been shown to produce
measurable, positive
health effects.
Therapeutic horticulture uses
plants and plant-related activities
to promote health and wellbeing.
Gardening provides an opportunity to create
and control the environment. This sense of control
creates a sense of empowerment and self-esteem,
which aids healing. Gardening also affords a sense of
purpose and achievement, which can support people
dealing with depression or other mental health
concerns.
The risk of developing a mental health disorder may
actually increase as someone spends more time in
front of a screen (Developmental Psychology 2008,
Journal of Environmental Psychology 2009). Time
spent in nature, thus, can mediate against such
health problems, both by getting someone away
from sitting in front of a screen and by inducing
calming, nature-related physiologic effects.
INCREASE YOUR WELLBEING THROUGH
NATURE:
1. Take nature breaks. Look out into nature and allow
your mind to relax. You likely will feel refreshed
and be ready for the next task with a renewed
sense of energy. If at all possible, get outdoors!
2. If you cannot get outside, purchase the Centers
Wellscapes app for your smartphone and relax
to healing images of nature. This can be a way
for people with allergies to plants or soil access
natures benets.
3. Bring nature into your ofce or home by hanging
a nature picture, installing one as the wallpaper on
your computer screen, or by bringing in a plant.
4. Head outside the lights of the city and gaze into
the night sky to feel connected to the rest of the
universe.
5. Use greenery to create a table arrangement to lift
your spirits.
6. Visit a local conservatory or head out to the
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
4 5 SPRING 2014 MANDALA
Jean Larson, PhD, CTRS, HTR, manages the University of Minnesotas Nature-Based Therapeutics
Program, a shared initiative with the Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Minnesota Landscape
Arboretum established to further the understanding of how nature heals.
Expand your knowledge and learn about natures healing power.
Upcoming Nature-Based Therapeutics courses include:
Summer: CSPH 5000-002 (3 credits) Journey Into Nature: Wellbeing and Leadership, a Travel Course
to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area | CSPH 5523 (2 credits) Applications in Therapeutic Horticulture
Fall: CSPH 5000-001 (3 credits) Horse as Teacher | CSPH 5522 (3 credits) Gardens for Health and
Wellbeing: An introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture
Tanya Bailey, faculty specializing in animal-assisted interaction,
and Woodstock the therapy chicken explain how animals can be
included in the healing process. Animal-assisted interaction is
part of the Nature-Based Therapeutics program.





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