Plants make you feel good. You only have to look at one, run your fingers through its leaves or smell its flowers to know that. But did you know their effects go even further?
Studies have shown that plants:
- Clean the air by absorbing toxins
- Reduce the physical symptoms of stress
- Reduce dust pollution
In the 1980s, Professor Roger Ulrich and his colleagues in the USA and Sweden showed that hospital patients recovering from major operations suffered fewer post-operative ill effects if they had a view of nature, as opposed to a view of buildings, through their window.
They were discharged from hospital sooner, had fewer post-operative side effects, such as nausea and headaches, needed fewer and weaker painkillers and were less demanding of nursing staff.
Further studies, using volunteers and pictures of urban and rural landscapes, confirmed that scenes of nature lower stress levels, facts that have both economic and healthcare implications.
More recently, researchers have studied the effects of interior landscaping.
Scientific reports from universities in the US, the UK, Norway, and the Netherlands have concluded that plants reduce stress levels and engender feelings of well-being. One study even showed that hospital staff in a radiography department took fewer days off sick once plants and light displays had been installed.
Interior plants also dramatically improve hospital patient recovery rates.
As a result of this research, modern hospital design often incorporates interior landscaping and views of gardens, providing benefits to patients, caretakers and visitors.