Can Wooden Objects Improve Your Health?

Can Wooden Objects Improve Your Health?

Our world’s urbanizing rhythm has never been faster than it is today. This reality, alongside the increasing growth of our population, is encouraging a rapid disappearance of the possibility for us to turn to nearby forests and woodlands for a breath of fresh, pure air in the middle of a stressful working routine.

Nevertheless, the benefits we as living creatures can obtain from spending time in natural environments are far too great to be left untapped. Now more than ever is the most suitable moment to rebuild our connection with nature, and benefit both physically and psychologically from this bond.

But if contemporary lifestyle has made it hard for you to approach the forest, could you actually derive some benefits by doing the opposite — by bringing a piece of the forest into your home through wooden furnishings and sculptures?

Turns out, wooden furniture or timber decorations can actually contribute to your overall physical and mental well-being. A recent in-depth report by the Planet Ark Environmental Foundation on the benefits of wooden products determined that constant exposure to wood furniture and interiors produces significant benefits on one’s health, similar to those obtained by spending time in natural surroundings.

The Old Mason Street Elementary School, San Diego, California.

How Wooden Furniture and Surroundings Improve your Health

Planet Ark’s extensive report is just one of many on the list. Over the last couple of years, timber products’ effect on our minds and bodies has become a major field of research. This means there is now a great amount of studies offering scientifically measured results that support this idea: wood exposure is great for your health.

A one-year Austrian study observed 36 high school students, aged 13-15, who attended either fully wooden furnished classrooms or commonly equipped classrooms with plastic equipment and plasterboard walls. By the end of the year, it was determined that those students who were taught in wood-based environments daily had significantly lower stress levels, blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased productivity compared to the opposite group of teenagers who didn’t have contact with wooden items. Similar studies have revealed likewise results. Exposure to natural wood products and wood decoration in learning environments during childhood and adolescence can be of great help in decreasing the secretion of excessive stress hormones which can develop into stress-related mental disorders later on in life.

And it is not just children that benefit from wood environments, either. Similar effects have been demonstrated with elderly people as well as the general populationWooden products and home decoration have been shown to benefit your health even while you are asleep. Sleeping in solid wood beds not only reduces blood pressure and anxiety but also improves a person’s emotional state and relaxation levels.

In addition, a Canadian study, titled “Appearance of Wood Products and Psychological Well-Being”, demonstrated that the colors and texture of wood generate “warmth”, “comfort”, and “relaxation” in people. These three feelings were harder to attain in a less-natural furnished room.

Planet Ark’s report also showcased a Japanese study that determined that wood items and products in an indoor space contribute to the growth of an individual’s interactions with others and self-expression in a positive way.  

Results like this make it unsurprising to see that an increasing number of architects and interior designers are including wood-based structures and products in homes, schools, and healing buildings all over the world.

The Environmental Impact of Wood

If you are an environmentally minded person, wood products probably relax you also because you know that they contribute to reestablishing the global balance of our entire planet. Certified wood is one of the few building materials that can help reduce the environmental impact.

Fortunately, wood is slowly showing up again on construction radars, aiding greatly in the battle against climate change while pushing steel and concrete aside. Now, with the new and increasing evidence on the health benefits that natural wood products generate, we will be seeing more of it with time. 

It is a slow road, but the change towards natural, sustainable materials like wood will eventually lead to a healthier future for everyone on the planet. It entirely depends on each one of us, as individuals, to choose smartly and sensibly when constructing and decorating our houses.

It is only by repairing the link between the natural world we live in and our daily lives that we can attain the meaningfulness and personal harmony that is currently slightly out of our reach. And, what simpler way to achieve this but by re-introducing natural wooden elements in our houses, work spaces and schools? As demonstrated by numerous studies, the mind and body benefits obtained when exposed to the beautiful and organic quality of wood ultimately make it the better choice.