Healing isn’t just about our bodies recovering from a surgery, illness or injury. When it comes to healing, our minds are just as important as the cellular processes taking place in our bodies. Because our minds are affected by our surroundings, healing techniques need to take into account the importance of where a person chooses to heal.
As people age, healing can take longer, but creating a space that promotes healing using lighting, decoration and plant life can help reduce pain and speed up the process.
Whether you’re a senior in the hospital recovering from an illness or a caretaker for an aging parent getting back on their feet after an injury—there are things you can do to make any room a space that promotes healing.
Bring nature inside
The benefits of being outside in a natural setting are numerous. One study found that spending two hours a week in nature led to improved health and well-being. While the best way to experience the benefits of nature is to be outside in it, that isn’t always possible when someone is recovering from an illness or injury—but don’t worry. The healing techniques of nature can be brought inside.
If you’re working to create a space that’s conducive to healing, try these tips to promote the human connection to nature – even if you’re stuck inside:
- Place some green and flowering plants around the room. Be sure to choose different sizes and types of plants to replicate some of the outdoors’ natural beauty. Place the plants carefully to avoid creating a fall hazard.
- Create an arrangement of seasonal greenery or fall leaves to bring the sights of the season inside, as well as the scents.
- If possible, open a window to allow the chirping of birds and sounds of nature to fill the space.
Mimic the outdoors
It’s not always practical to bring live plants inside or open windows to the fresh air when seniors are working to get well. If that’s the case, you can still create the healing techniques of nature by mimicking it.
A research study found that even being around art that represents nature can be soothing and promote healing. The study revealed that patients in rooms with artwork that included landscapes, waterscapes and flowers led to less stress and better pain management. The study’s authors also pointed out that abstract artwork had the opposite effect, creating negative reactions in patients.
If live plants and fresh air aren’t possible in your situation, use these ideas to create an appealing visual space to promote healing:
- Use fake florals and greenery to create the impression of a natural space. If the person is bed-ridden, be sure to take into account their sight lines when placing items around the room.
- Hang photos and other artwork that depicts the outdoors or items found in nature. Hang them where the person recovering can easily see them.
- Use technology to bring the outdoors in by creating a slideshow of nature photos to play on a screen in the room.
Light the room
When you don’t feel well, the world can seem like a dark place, but it can be even worse when the room itself is actually dark. A well-lit space makes a difference when it comes to healing techniques, especially when that light comes from a natural source.
Natural light can make a difference in how patients heal, according to a study from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The study found that patients in sunny rooms had better outcomes than those in darker rooms of a cardiac intensive care unit.
Put that knowledge into practice when choosing a space for a parent or other senior to use when recovering and healing. If you can, pick a room that has large windows and lets in lots of natural light. Not only will the light become its own healing tool, but being able to see outside can make the space seem bigger.
If you can’t choose a room with natural lighting, use lamps or bulbs that mimic natural light as closely as possible to get as much benefit as you can.
Find a room with a view
Windows aren’t only important for providing natural lighting, but they can also help promote healing by creating a scenic view. Research shows that patients in rooms with windows that provided a natural scene spent less time recovering from surgery than those in rooms that looked out on a brick wall. If you have a choice, pick a room that looks out on a garden, courtyard or backyard instead of the street or another building.
Choose colors wisely
Bringing the outdoors inside isn’t the only way to help create the proper atmosphere for a better recovery. The color of a room can affect how people feel as well. When recovering from illness or injury, a relaxing atmosphere is important, and color can play a role in that.
Choose a room that has bright and less saturated tones like sage green over highly saturated colors in order to promote relaxation. Green is a good color for a room because it increases creative thinking. Avoid red as it can hinder analytical thinking, according to Psychology Today.
Connect mind and body
No matter what type of room you have to work with, you can create a space for your recovering senior that encourages healing and creates a human connection to nature. Paying attention to the few small details can get the mind and body working together and your loved one back on their feet faster.