Looking IS Healing: Nature
"Demonstrating that we have a biologically programmed positive response to nature is more difficult, because we don’t respond as dramatically to something that’s not a threat.
But numerous studies since the 1970s suggest the subtle power of natural scenery to heal both body and mind. Texas A&M researcher Roger Ulrich, for instance, has shown that people who watch a calming nature video after a stressful experience have markedly lower muscle tension, pulse, and skin conductance activity after less than five minutes. This translates into significant medical benefits.
Ulrich also monitored patients after gallbladder surgery and found that those assigned to a room looking out on trees needed far fewer painkillers than patients in rooms that faced a brick wall.
Heart surgery patients in rooms with nature scenes on the wall experienced less anxiety and smoother recoveries than patients with blank walls or abstract art.
Likewise, cosmonauts confined for months in outer space quickly lose interest in video programs and other diversions. They prefer to stare out the window at the untouchable Earth."
Source: The Natural History of Art
If this is indeed the case, one wonders if creating hospitals that are all surrounded by trees, streams, flowers, and other natural splendors (as much as possible, cities can be tough) - would actually save hospitals money in the long run via quicker and more successful recoveries and treatments? Such saved capital could then be further invested into spreading the program, as well as perhaps bringing down other health care costs, and perhaps even making medical care available for more of the 47 million without. In other words, should Obama make "naturalizing" our hospital and health care settings in general, a priority in his new health care plan?
Also, is this not in a big way a testament to the profound psychological implications for somatic health? Even for you dualists out there, there is little doubt that the brain, the mind, the mental unit system, as it were, plays in many cases as much a role, or more, in one's experience of bodily pleasure or pain, sickness or health, as does the trillion-celled somatic structure itself.
Perhaps next time I have a headache I'll hike to my local waterfall instead of popping an aspirin.
I suggest some of the SC gives it a try as well.
For another study on the healing power of nature, please click here.