You may well be aware of the science indicating that the outdoors are good for our health. Exposure to natural spaces has been shown to boost happiness and self-esteem, decrease stress, lower blood pressure, increase cognitive abilities, and improve heart health. What you might not know is that we can access many of the great benefits that nature has to offer not only by going outside, but by introducing natural surfaces into our homes and workplaces!
The use of wood, in particular, has been shown to provide impressive physiological and psychological benefits, akin to those on offer in the wilderness. Environmentally friendly wooden floors offer not only an ethical element, but also help to lower blood pressure, make for a happier heart, reduce anxiety, and create feelings of warmth and comfort. Responsibly sourced timber – such as that used by Unique Bespoke Wood – provides a plethora of benefits, both to those who enjoy it, and the environment at large. Here, we will examine some of what – for example – eco-friendly parquet flooring might offer your unique interior design project!
Part Of Our Cultural Heritage
Wood is one of the most historic and versatile materials ever used by humanity. The material has ancient roots within cultures all around the world. Evidence of wooden construction has been found everywhere, from Neolithic sites, to the pyramids of Egypt. Today, we see ancient sites of wood still standing, such as the 1700 year old Horyui temple in Japan, and Greensted Church in England, which is almost 1000 years old! Given this long history, perhaps it is no mystery that we are positively attuned to wood within our surrounding environments.
Knowing That We Are Supporting The Environment
The choice of sustainably sourced wood for your interior is certainly cause for a pat on the back! As a material, wood acts as a natural carbon sink, keeping carbon locked within it – rather than releasing it back into our atmosphere. The production of environmentally friendly wood floors and furnishings can be far less polluting than highly processed or synthetic alternatives, while providing a non-toxic presence within your home or workspace. The eco-friendly nature of wood within interiors can not only help you know that you've made good choices. It can also provide a positive message within your business or organisation. Fascinatingly, a study from New Zealand revealed that professionals feel far more drawn to work environments that feature wooden surfaces and furnishings, with participants stating that wood conveyed feelings of innovation, energy and comfort.
Benefits To Blood Pressure
The Japanese are experts on harnessing the health benefits of nature. The nation enjoys a widely embraced practice, called “Shinrin-yoku”, which broadly translates as “forest bathing”! They have also taken interest in the benefits of wood, with one study identifying that subjects exposed to wood panelling within an interior space exhibited a reduction in blood pressure, while other participants exposed to steel panelling suffered the opposite. Such physiological responses can be traced to the sympathetic nervous system. This is where our body prepares itself for stress, and when activated, blood pressure and heart rate rise, while immunity and recovery are compromised. Harnessing the power of eco-friendly parquet flooring might be just the trick to keep your sympathetic nervous system calm and contented!
Honing In On Heart Health
It would seem that any choice of wooden surface will do, as long as it's authentic. A study from Australia indicated that sleeping in a solid wooden bed, as opposed to an imitation wooden bed, was far better for heart health. Subjects were monitored for three weeks, and those in the real wooden bed exhibited an average reduction in heart rate of 3500 beats per day! Another study examining children within different classrooms found that those taught in wood-filled interiors also demonstrated lower heart rates, alongside lower indications of stress. In this sense, environmentally friendly wood floors offer fantastic benefits for the whole family!
Keeping Stress At Bay
Alongside helping children to feel less anxious, the elderly appear to benefit too. Study subjects within a Japanese care home were more likely to interact with each other, and express themselves positively, when surrounded by wood. Similar studies also found that hospital patients recovered more quickly with wood in their care environment. Knowing how negatively stress can impact us in today's busy modern world, introducing environmentally friendly wood floors into your interior offers transformative improvements to quality of life!
Improved Air Quality
Natural wooden surfaces such as eco-friendly parquet flooring improve air quality by moderating humidity. Wood serves to maintain an equilibrium in the space it inhabits by artfully absorbing and releasing moisture. This natural “breath” means that when the air is more humid, or very dry, your wood floors will help to keep your interiors more pleasant. Wood also boasts natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, further contributing to air quality. This can have a powerful impact on our everyday lives, as poor air quality can reduce productivity, and lead to ill health.
As specialists in hardwood flooring who are passionate about sustainability, we are always excited to share the many benefits of wood for our own well-being, and the health of our environment. If you would like to explore the health boosting potential of environmentally friendly wood floors or parquetry for your interior project, contact us to find out more!