Small Space Gardening
Do Container Plants Help You Heal?
A recent study on patients recovering from surgery has some intriguing results
Research suggests that plants might help you feel better after stressful surgery. Of course, you've always known the feeling of well-being container plants bring to the rooms of your home. But now researchers from Kansas State University have tested whether the presence of live plants in hospital rooms has therapeutic benefits on post-operative patients. They measured length of hospitalization, vital signs, pain intensity, room satisfaction and other factors to see if live container plants influenced recovery.
It's hard to argue with data: the researchers found significantly reduced use of pain medications, lower blood pressure and higher recovery satisfaction among patients who had plants in their rooms compared to those who did not. Potted plants provided patients with more benefits than cut flowers did, because they lasted a long time and patients could interact with them. The patients watered, pruned, or simply moved their plants around to take advantage of changing light. A Texas A&M study also showed that patient with views of live plants recovered from surgery more quickly and without as much pain medication as patients who did not have those views. The Texas A&M researchers also found that patients with visual access to live plants measured lower muscle tension and blood pressure while recovering from stress.
We've known for a long time that container plants improve indoor air quality. Now there's evidence that live plants help reduce the physiological effects of stress and patient satisfaction increases in hospitals where nature is included in the therapeutic setting. So next time you or your loved one has to stay in the hospital, stock the room with a few lovely potted plants.
For more information on this subject, see the Kansas State University research article in HortTechnology.