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Plants and Flowers Help Speed Recovery from Surgery

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to a study, in Hort Technology, plants and flowers in hospital rooms have definite healing benefits, especially for anyone recovering from surgery.

Researchers studied ninety patients recovering from appendectomy, assigning them randomly to hospital rooms with or without plants. During recovery, the patients were able to see eight varieties of flowering plants or foliage.

Scientists measured recovery times, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, perceived level of pain, fatigue and anxiety levels. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-1, the Environmental Assessment Scale, and the Patient's Room Satisfaction Questionnaire were also included as assessment tools to measure the healing benefits of flowers when placed in sight of hospital patients recovering from surgery.

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The results showed that plants and flowers facilitated recovery from abdominal surgery, as evidenced by less pain medication use, lower heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decreased anxiety levels in the hospital patients who were exposed to plants and flowers. In addition, the patients indicated greater satisfaction with their hospital rooms, when compared to the control group.

The study concluded that plants and flowers are good medicine when it comes to promoting recovery from surgery.

Contact with nature has long been touted as healing. The new research, conducted by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, researchers from the Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry at Kansas State University, showed that patients who had no plants in their rooms found that watching television was the most satisfying quality of their hospital room.

The study should inspire physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, and insurance companies to look closely at the healing benefits of nature. Incorporating natural systems thinking into our lives can provide solutions that equally promote global and individual health. We now know for certain, that bringing plants and flowers to the hospital room is an inexpensive and natural means to provide comfort, and help speed recovery from surgery.

Article updated 8/20/2013