Ok, so flowers aren’t necessarily going to do the trick if they come from someone who has wronged you, but for those of us who love having fresh flowers around, a new study helps explain our preference for petals.
Researchers from Kansas State University published an article in the journal of the American Horticultural Society showing that plants had a therapeutic impact on patients who had them in their recovery rooms after surgery.
The patients surveyed had less need for painkillers, lower blood pressure and heart rates, they experienced less pain and fatigue, AND they reported higher satisfaction with their hospital rooms than a control group that did not have flowers in their room.
Talk about flower power!
According to the researchers:
“Findings of this research suggested that plants in a hospital environment could be noninvasive, inexpensive, and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.”
As the blog Scary Mommy points out, this isn’t the first study to show the benefits of being around flowers:
“An 11-year study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found leisure activities like gardening have been shown to have the same benefits as hitting the gym.”
Of course, there’s a difference between physical activity and sitting around looking at lilacs.
But we also know that indoor plants have benefits too – they improve air quality for example.
And we’ve long had evidence that people exposed to just about any nature scene show decreased stress levels, including positive changes in their brains, hearts, and other muscles.
Plants and flowers can help relieve tension all over the body!
For those of us without a green thumb, never fear! You don’t have to worry about keeping indoor plants alive to reap the benefits. A weekly treat in the form of a grocery store bouquet can have the same effects (at least as long as they’re alive – leaving dead flowers around the house isn’t going to cheer you up).
And while the floral industry might seem like a sustainability challenge, it’s not much different than retail therapy or pharmaceuticals.
Last year, yet another study came out (albeit in conjunction with the floral industry) showing the stress-relieving effects of flowers on women in particular.
Conducted in 2017 on 170 women between the ages of 18-65, 1/3 of participants received a floral arrangement halfway through the study, while 1/3 received a wrapped luxury candle, and 1/3 (the control group) received no gift.
When the three groups completed surveys designed to measure their stress for the next 12 days, the group that received the flowers experienced “a significant decrease in their levels of stress and improvements in their moods.”
A measurable decrease in stress is not just a nice thing, but deeply important for health. Anything that decreases stress can reduce the amount we spend on healthcare both individually and as a country.
Even studies done on men showed that flowers help create a more serene environment. A study done on male office workers in Japan showed that those exposed to fresh rose petals for just a few minutes reported better psychological and physiological effects – their heart rates were lower and they tended to just subjectively feel better after some exposure to the flowers.
The idea that plants and flowers can have a medicinal effect on the body is gaining traction and there’s increasing data to back it up.
So next time you want to cheer yourself up after a hard day or decrease the stress level in your home, head to the florist and get yourself some greenery!
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Source: Scary Mommy