The Amazing Health Benefits of Interior or Indoor Plants

Indoor plants have a great impact on our psyche and general overall feelings of well-being. Recent scientific studies have also shown that interior plants can have a beneficial impact on our physical health as well. They are natural air filters, removing many types of toxins and pollutants from our indoor environments. Indoor plants also have been shown to help surgical patients recover faster and to increase efficiency and productivity among office workers. After reading this article, you’ll see why every home and office setting should contain indoor plants.

It’s been known for centuries that plants remove carbon dioxide from the air, use it during the process of photosynthesis and then give off oxygen as a waste product. Obviously, a waste for the plant is certainly a benefit for all animals, as we then breathe in the oxygen. So we are dependent on plants at a very basic level for the very air we breathe.

But it’s recently been discovered that interior plants remove much more from the air than just carbon dioxide. Sick Building Syndrome is the name for the overall condition that indoor pollutants cause in today’s sealed-up and insulated buildings. The chemicals and toxins produced by many of our carpets, drywall and furniture escape into the air in our homes and offices and are then trapped. Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are gases that are given off by many products in our homes such as paints, cleaning supplies, glues and pesticides. Recent studies by NASA have shown that common houseplants have the ability to remove many of these toxins from our air. In fact, NASA is even planning to send house plants to the orbiting space station to enhance the quality of life for the astronauts.

Office managers looking to reduce absenteeism and boost efficiency and productivity among their workers would do well to incorporate indoor plants into their office design. Plants have a beneficial effect not only on workers’ mental states, but have a positive impact on their physical status as well.

Numerous studies have shown that simply having plants in the room where people work lowers their blood pressure and reduces stress levels. The benefits are especially prevalent in those who work in windowless offices or in small cubicles. Studies performed in Germany in the 1960s showed that having plants in offices boosted worker morale and reduced absenteeism.

A study conducted at Washington State University compared the results of college students doing computer tasks specifically designed to test productivity and induce stress. Half of them were tested in a white room with no windows or plants, while the other half was tested in a similar room containing various plants placed around the perimeter of the room and also hanging from the ceiling.

Interestingly, the results showed that the students who worked in the rooms with the plants reported feeling significantly more attentive during and after the task. While both groups’ blood pressure increased during the task, indicating it was causing them stress, the students who worked in the presence of plants showed less increase in blood pressure than the group that worked without plants.

Did you know that house plants can actually help a surgery patient recover faster? Patients with potted plants in their rooms, as opposed to cut flowers, had a whole host of benefits when compared with patients who had no plants in their rooms.

A study at the University of Kansas indicated that patients received both physical and emotional benefits from interior plants. Patients were measured in terms of the length of their stay, anxiety, vital signs and pain intensity. Those who stayed in the rooms with the plants took much less pain medication, had better vital signs, were less anxious and expressed more satisfaction with their rooms. These patients were also discharged sooner than the patients without plants. Could this be the reason that we instinctively bring plants or flowers to hospital patients when we visit?

Most people have suspected that having plants in our homes and office buildings is a good thing – interior plants help bring a little bit of nature into our lives, at a time when most of us see very little of the natural world on any given day. Our bodies and psyches crave this contact. Now, science is showing us in measurable data that house plants make us more efficient, help us recover faster from surgery and even scrub our air. So the next time you pass by a lush green plant at work, give it a quick silent “thank you.” It’ll appreciate the carbon dioxide!

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