Reconnecting with nature aids health

Independent Practitioner Today’s series on how to create a great user experience continues as Nick Butcher and Dr Nick Hayward delve into the world of biophilic design.

Biophilic design is a concept being increasingly incorporated into stores, offices, homes and healthcare. 

Biophilic designs: Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent, shows what can be done

With the word ‘well-being’ considered so much more than just a buzzword of the past 12 months, American biologist Edward O. Wilson’s theory of biophilia is being implemented in many types of environments.

Wilson described biophilia as ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world’. But despite this, we far too often exile ourselves from nature in favour of our manmade settings. 

We repeatedly alienate ourselves from the natural environment that we supposedly share an inherent bond with. Historically, and especially since the industrial revolution, society has shown habits that destroy our natural world as technology progresses. 

Healing power

Therefore, to reconnect with nature, we can embrace biophilic design not only to create health benefits for patients, but also to help the employees of your clinic, practice or hospital.

Lexicon Medicum by Robert Hooper spoke of the ‘healing powers of nature’ in 1839, arguing that many illnesses could be cured without the aid of medicine, but by paying attention to air quality, the food we eat, how much physical activity we do and the rest we receive along with our state of mind. 

So, even in the 1800s, our environment was considered to be therapeutic and capable of supporting our health and recovery.