Bright Spot Episode #2: Forest Bathing with Dr. Michelle Olson
Forest bathing...What an incredible concept. No, it's not exactly what you're thinking. We aren't taking baths in the forest, however, I'm sure one could be worked in.
Forest bathing…What an incredible concept. No, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking. We aren’t taking baths in the forest, however, I’m sure one could be worked in.
We are looking at the benefits of connecting our older adults, especially those living with Dementia to the outdoors.
Dr. Olson is a social gerontologist, a licensed, board-certified, and registered creative arts therapist, a certified dementia care consultant, a certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional, and a Certified Forest Therapy Guide. Dr. Olson was inspired by her father, Dr. Lee Olson, who was a plant biochemist and encouraged her to appreciate and respect all of nature (weeds, bugs, and all!)
So what is Forest Bathing? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors and the concentration of air pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than out in nature! Shinrin-yoku or ‘Forest Bathing’ is the evidenced-based practice of spending time in the woods.
Now let’s talk about the physiological health benefits of being in nature! Decreases inflammation Increases immune system Improves cardiovascular health Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety Improves sleep Lowers blood sugar Boosts parasympathetic nervous system (which makes us feel so good!) Dr. Olson and her team have an incredible mission to offer people living with dementia opportunities for meaningful connections and pathways to physical, social, and emotional well-being through mindful immersions in nature and expressive arts.
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