Letter from Publisher - August 2020Jul 31, 2020 03:31PM ● By Dave Korba
A recently-aired NBC Today show segment highlighted how Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, in New York City, has converted the exterior triage tents built for early overflow of pandemic patients into “recharge rooms” as a refuge to help healthcare workers recover from pandemic stress. Watch the video at Tinyurl.com/RechargeRoom.
The refuge rooms include subdued lighting to simulate a forest or waterside environment around dusk, including diffusers with essential oils to create woodland and floral experiences. It was most refreshing to hear a major metropolitan hospital administrator affirming that the approach used to create a relaxing effect by simulating a natural environment is “evidence-based”. Many of you have already experienced your own evidence and regularly use the natural rhythms and power of nature for grounding, recharging and healing.
In addition to the lighting and oil, the tent interiors have been transformed with plants, trees, fans and the projection of wall-size natural images with accompanying sound recordings. Spread among the trees are lounge chairs upon which the triage workers can peacefully rest.
The segment points out that the design of the space is grounded in neuroscience. The hospital spokesperson states, “We’re leveraging a lot of literature that focuses on the idea that green spaces can really improve your body’s physiology—lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, improved breathing—all of the things that are associated with heightened relaxation.”
Hospital workers report a significant drop in stress levels after visiting one of the 10 recharge rooms. Now other hospitals are inquiring about setting up similar systems as they look to improve the focus on the mental health and well-being of their front-line employees.
The most inspiring aspect of the Mount Sinai recharge room for me, is not the rooms themselves, but rather the fact that nature and natural approaches can minimize stress and show evidence-based results toward improvement of overall health and wellness.
This also comes as no surprise to our three local contributors, Amethyst Retreat Center, Hope Hill Lavender Farm and Earthbound Artisan, which have combined their views on nature as compass, healer, provider and teacher on page 26. Combined with nurturing bath additives in our Healing Ways department, mindful walking in the Fit Body department and the power of awe in our Inspiration department, this issue provides more great ideas for practicing quality self-care, reducing stress and supporting yourself along your path toward feeling good, living simply and laughing more.