I have just finished reading the book “Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being” by Esther M. Sternberg, MD (published by Harvard University Press).

It is a very interesting book. It shows how powerful places, sound & silence and visual aspects can be in moving people from illness to health. The complicated working relationship between the senses, the emotions and the immune system is explained. Sternberg connect research, physiological response, and spatial concepts to provide us – designers – with ideas for implementation as well as an understanding of why we should design in specific ways.

The book is quit detailed. Most of the time it was interesting and relevant reading however sometimes it was a bit difficult to understand the very technical explanations.

Sternberg has been doing a lot of research to the book and what cached my attention and made me continue reading the book was when Sternberg mentioned the study of Roger Ulrich. In 1984 Roger Ulrick wanted to test whether views of nature were calming, and whether, by reducing the stress by hospitalization, they could in turn improve health. He found that view through a window may influence recovery from surgery. The patients looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses’ notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.

If you would like to watch a video where Sternberg herselfs talks about the book take a look here.

I would like to hear your opinion. Have you read the book – and what do you think about it? Did it inspire you? You are also welcome to recommend me other similar books – thanks a lot…

Written by Trine Plambech

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