For many volunteers in my batch we are either settling into our host families home or have decided to move out on our own. In regards to this transition time I wrote a e-mail to my fellow volunteers about creating a healthy and therapeutic living space no matter where they are staying (some are still in hotels due to the typhoon). I wanted to also share this tip with anyone else who is interested.
Two words: house plants.
An area of research that I am very interested in is horticultural therapy and the therapeutic benefits of working with plants or just having them around you. It is amazing to see the benefit plants can have on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I know some of you are not plant-people but that is okay, you don’t have to have a green thumb to keep many house plants alive. In my home it is survival of the fittest, only the hardy plants survive, but I love having them around even though I forget to water them. They are beautiful and add life to any space, and at the same time provide incredible healing properties for us all. It is pretty neat/incredibly awesome.
I know hefty research can be mind numbing so I have found a great website that presents the benefits of house plants in an easy-read format.
Plants can help fight colds: Indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%. This is due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
Plants can remove airborne contaminants: We breathe the same air again and again, potentially inhaling harmful substances that are trapped inside. Indoor plants can help to remove pollutants including VOCs that cause headaches, nausea, and more.
Plants can stop your headaches: Filling your home with plants can decrease or eliminate headaches. With plants, you’re much less likely to be breathing the kind of stuffy, stale air that contributes to headaches.
Plants can make you happy: House plants can contribute to a feeling of wellbeing, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those facing a wall.
Plants can improve your mental health: Caring for a living thing can help when you’re depressed and lonely, giving you a purpose in life.
Plants can decrease your blood pressure: People with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure.
Plants can reduce carbon dioxide: During photosynthesis, plants draw carbon dioxide from the air. Removing this substance can help prevent drowsiness from elevated levels.
Plants can offer treatment: Some indoor plants, like aloe, can be applied to skin and offer pain relief.
Plants can prevent allergies: Exposing children to allergens such as plants early in life can help them build a tolerance and immunity to the allergen. It works like a custom allergy shot, naturally.
Plants can negate cigarette smoke: If you are a smoker or live with one, a plant may help you remove the airborne chemicals from cigarettes. In particular, the Peace Lily is a good choice for this health benefit.
Plants can make your brain work better: Potted plants and flowers can improve your idea generation, mood, and more.
Plants provide clean air: In addition to filtering chemicals, plants also put out clean air, improving the air quality around them.
Plants can clear congestion: Eucalyptus in particular can help clear phlegm and congestion from your system. In fact, eucalyptus is often found in congestion remedies.
Plants are natural humidifiers: Instead of buying a humidifier machine to soften the air, just bring in a plant or two.
Plants can improve your sleep: Gerbera daisies give off oxygen at night. Filling a vase in your bedroom with these flowers can improve your night’s rest.
I hope some of these have inspired you to go out and buy some house plants for your current or new homes. Trust me/science: they are good for you!
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding horticultural therapy just send me an email!
Happy Holidays and Much love!