healing spaces

Surely everyone knows that spending time in certain spaces is good for our health and wellbeing.
If you want scientific proof of this knowledge, you can read a new book by Dr Esther Sternberg. It’s called Healing Spaces: the Science of Place and Well-being, published by Harvard University Press. This story is truly multidisciplinary – it combines the latest knowledge of neuroscience, engineering, psychology, architecture and immunology.
It’s a chatty accessible book, about the relationship between our inner worlds and the external world. We perceive the external world through our senses. In response to these stimuli different areas of the brain become activated, producing thought, emotions or memory and enabling us to see, hear, touch and smell. These sense perceptions trigger emotions that send molecules flowing through our bloodstream and nerve cells, strengthening the immune system and helping the body’s natural healing process.
When I smell the catmint or see the dark red poppies or listen to birdcalls, I don’t care about what is happening inside my mind and body. But when I walk around a city, it will be possible for me to have these experiences only if there are natural spaces that contain plants, birds and other wildlife. And when I am in hospital I will only be able to see the sky and trees if the hospital designers have planned for this.
So let's hope politicians and designers read this book. As for me, I'm off to smell the wormwood...


  1. Sounds like a good book. Nature is a healer and certain spaces are very positive for us, lift our mood and just make us feel so much better.

  2. Absolutely - it seems sometimes to me that nature has a "cleansing" effect. Certain places have a way of making one feel refreshed and renewed - so I wouldn't be surprised if there is scientific proof.

    Nice to "meet" you and your blog!

  3. Nice pictures! Must have been a very pleasant place. I love walking up the hill in the morning. The air is so refreshing and colour green is so soothing. Have a wonderful day!

  4. That third photo evokes a feeling of peace, very appropriate to your post. Healing spaces must contain plantings, a wide open space sometimes cause a feeling of anxiety.

  5. Hi Catmint, I hope your garden is as healing for you as the spaces in the book. My garden is usually a calming, uplifting place for me. Some recent stresses there have made me appreciate just how helpful the garden is to me normally.


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