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“A Room with a View” continued

fewer complications, required less narcotic pain medication, needed less nursing care and, not surprisingly, were discharged earlier than the first group.

What was the one thing that the second group of patients received that the first group did not?
  • A new generation drug?
  • A costly high-tech procedure?
  • A dangerous experimental therapy?

The answer will surprise you. And it may come as a shock, that although this research was done almost two decades ago, the majority of patients, as well as their doctors, do not know the first thing about it.

What was the difference in the two groups? Something so simple, so inexpensive and so unexpected that many people laughed when they heard about it. The difference was...a room with a view!

Patients in the second group had a view from their window. Not of a gorgeous landscape or rolling ocean waves but a view of...a tree!

The implications of this research are profound, but only a handful of hospitals are designed with the natural environment in mind. And few doctors advise their patients that exposure to a natural environment could speed their recovery from surgery. Perhaps it's because this research was done, not by doctors, but by a landscape architect!

Of course, much more research has been done in the nearly twenty years since the "room with a view" study was published. We now know that even pictures of nature are extremely effective in reducing stress, not only for hospitalized patients, but for anyone who sees them.



Today, many people live in urban environments and do not have the luxury of getting away to a natural area very often. Others are just too caught up in the demands of modern living to take time away, except perhaps for the all too brief week's vacation at the shore or in the mountains.

For those who are ill or are incapacitated by injury, getting "back to nature" can be impossible. Fortunately, you can now visit beautiful healing natural scenes any time you desire without ever leaving the comfort of your home! Just put in a tape, grab your remote and make yourself comfortable.

Who said that watching television was bad for your health?!


Selected Scientific References:

Ulrich, Roger S. View Through a Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery. Science Magazine. American Association for the Advancement of Science, April 1984.

Herzog, T. R., and P. J. Bosley. 1992. "Tranquility and Preference as Affective Qualities of Natural Environments." Journal of Environmental Psychology 12:115-127.

Ulrich, R. S., R. F. Simons, B. D. Losito, E. Fiorito, M. A. Miles and M. Zelson. 1991. "Stress Recovery During Exposure to Natural and Urban Environments." Journal of Environmental Psychology 11:201-230.