The Healing Power of Plants

We all know that healthy, vibrant plants can bring great aesthetic beauty to your home and office. But did you know that plants also provide greater benefits than simply looking good?

People have been using the natural healing power of plants for centuries to cure ailments, promote relaxation, and to ease both physical and psychological pain. In fact, during the Middle Ages in Europe, many monasteries created extensive, sophisticated gardens as a place for sick people to rest and convalesce.

In today’s modern hospitals, plants, atriums, and gardens are once again reemerging as a proven, effective way to help people manage the stress that’s often associated with an extended hospital stay. Evidence from various academic studies has shown that viewing nature settings can influence positive changes in heart activity, blood pressure, brain activity, and muscle tension in as little as five minutes.

Plants have also been shown to improve clinical outcomes in hospital settings. In one study conducted at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden, heart surgery patients that recovered near a view of nature experienced less anxiety and less physical pain (as evidenced by a smaller demand for narcotic pain drugs) than patients who recovered in standard hospital rooms.

There are lots of other benefits to be had from plants around the office, too. Over and over again, plants have been proven to help increase productivity, reduce noise, stimulate creativity, and promote an overall sense of wellbeing in office settings. In a study led by Washington State University, productivity increased twelve percent when people performed a simple task on a computer in a windowless room with plants compared to workers who performed the same task in the same room without plants. According to another study conducted by the USDA Forest Service, employees with a workspace in view of plant material experienced fewer health issues, less job pressure, and more satisfaction with their jobs than employees without a view of plant life.

Plants also promote good physical health for employees around the office. That’s because they have the unique ability to help clean the air we breathe. And office air is probably much dirtier than you think—it can contain toxic chemicals from paint, carpet, and cleaning agents that are routinely used around the workplace. Luckily, plants can convert many of these toxic chemicals—benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon dioxide included—into clean air, which allows our lungs to absorb more pure oxygen.

In research conducted by NASA, several common indoor plants proved to be very effective in removing indoor air pollutants. These plants include:

–       Mother-in-law’s tongue (sansevieria trifasciata)
–       English ivy (hedera helix)
–       Devil’s ivy (epipremnum aureum)
–       Peace lily (spathiphyllum)
–       Janet craig (dracaena deremensis)
–       Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)
–       Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum)
–       Bamboo or reed palm (chamaedorea sefritzii)

The healing power of plants is truly remarkable. And their many benefits can help improve almost any situation, whether it be at home, work, or in a clinical setting. If you’d like to learn more about adding the healing power of plants to your space, give us a call at 317.575.1100 or fill out the form below.

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