By eScapes Network
Even if you don’t have windows overlooking a garden, exposure to nature scenes could have amazing effects on people.
Many research and clinical studies have focused on the psychological and physiological health effects of experiencing or viewing nature scenes. (Nanda 2011).
More than 45 author-reviewed studies concluded that experiencing or viewing nature scenes:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Reduced perceived waiting time
- Reduced the amount of pain medication administered, and
- Lowered blood pressure of the subjects.
We concentrated on 23 of these studies, which focused on the benefits of being exposed to views of nature (excluding gardens and indoor plants). Fifty-seven percent (13) are classified as non-clinical, and forty-four percent (10) as clinical studies.
Ninety-one percent (21) concluded that viewing nature scenes had a positive impact on the viewer. (van den Berg 2005)
One of the earliest studies by researcher Roger Ulrich focused on the effects of viewing nature on a person’s mood. Forty-six mildly-stressed subjects were shown colored slides of outdoor environments.
One group was shown 50 slides of unspectacular nature scenes, primarily featuring green vegetation. The other group was shown 50 slides of American urban scenes lacking nature subjects.
The subjects were measured before and after viewing the slides, primarily on their anxiety (levels) and emotional responses.
The findings suggest that stressed individuals feel significantly better after viewing nature scenes over those exposed to urban scenes.
The effects of the exposure to nature scenes were an increase in positive feelings, such as affection, friendliness, playfulness, and elation. (Ulrich 1979) (van den Berg 2005)
In another study, Ulrich sought to determine if a room assignment with nature imagery or a window looking out on a natural scene had restorative or recuperative influences. Between 1972-1981, 46 post-op cholecystectomy patients were examined in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital.
In 1984, Ulrich, et al. repeated and refined the study to examine the relationship between views of nature and post-surgery recovery of patients.
The studies showed that patients assigned to rooms with windows overlooking a nature scene or had nature imagery in the room:
- Had shorter hospital stays
- Had fewer negative evaluative comments on nurse’s notes and
- Took fewer potent analgesics
…than patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall, abstract imagery or blank walls in the room. (Ulrich 1984) (van den Berg 2005) (Franklin 2012)
Reduced Dental Anxiety
It can be concluded that the findings are applicable to dentistry and dental practices.
Dentists have waiting rooms and operatories, with patients that have various levels of anxiety and pain perception. Incorporating scenes of nature in a practice should, by logical extension, provide the same beneficial effects to these patients.
It’s a matter of time before non-clinical and clinical studies are initiated in dentistry to repeat and validate similar studies.