Having Fun Supports Health & Well-Being | Recreational Therapy Month

From Left: Michelle Cheney, CTRS; Cathy Jordan, MS, CTRS; Lori Paquette, Rehab Technician.

We lead very busy lives. Whether we’re keeping up with family obligations, managing tasks at work or school, or coping with change — both planned or unexpected — it can be easy to forget about taking care of your own personal well-being. But if left unchecked, chronic stress can have direct, measurable impacts on our health.

According to the CDC, studies have shown that increased stress can cause physical reactions, like headaches, body pains, increased blood pressure, and stomach problems. That’s why it’s so important to find healthy ways to cope with stress — such as finding time in our busy schedules to simply have fun. Physical activities, like our favorite sport, or creative activities, like painting, are wonderful outlets for processing negative emotions.

In fact, there’s an entire field of medicine dedicated to studying how recreation can improve health and well-being: Recreational Therapy. This month is Recreational Therapy Month, so we’re celebrating the recreational therapy specialists who help care for patients at UP Health System – Marquette.

Also known as therapeutic recreation, this therapy is ordered by a provider and is one part of the interdisciplinary care plan. The treatment has been proven to help reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities; build confidence, and enhance overall quality of life.

Our Recreational Therapists, Cathy Jordan, MS, CTRS, and Michelle Chaney, CTRS, lead evidence-based, therapeutic recreation activities to promote recovery in patients with illnesses and/or disabling conditions. Both therapists are board-certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and members of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. They are supported by Lori Paquette, Rehabilitation Technician for the Inpatient Behavioral Health unit.

In 2021, our recreational therapy specialists completed nearly 8,300 visits with patients in the Inpatient Rehabilitation and Inpatient Behavioral Health units. Through their care and expertise, our recreational therapy specialists address the physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being of our patients through recreation and leisure activities.

Designed to meet the needs and interests of each patient, the different activities used in recreational therapy can vary. At UP Health System – Marquette, patients can create art using a variety of mediums, from watercolor paper to copper metal. Patients also have access to a comprehensive exercise space filled with different equipment.

The goal of Recreational Therapy is to enable our patients to return home with greater confidence and independence, allowing them to pursue the activities they enjoy most and be successful in the community.

Cathy Jordan, MS, CTRS
Recreational Therapist at UP Health System – Marquette

Thank you to the recreational therapy specialists at UP Health System – Marquette for all you do to care for our patients. Happy National Recreational Therapy Month!

Display of artwork that patients have created while in the Recreational Therapy program.

Taking care of your family’s health, as well as your own, can feel like a daily challenge — but we’re here to help. Call 844.411.UPHS (8748) or click the Find a Doctor tab at MGH.org to get connected with the care you need.

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