While the dedicated study and practice of wellness has ancient roots, the word itself is quite modern. Initially gaining traction in the 1950s, recent developments fueled by technology have spurred a wellness explosion that’s influencing a current hot topic: home wellness.
There is an important distinction between health and wellness, the latter dependent upon preventative care. When applied to the larger context, and borrowing from the Global Wellness Institute, “Our homes, communities and surrounding environment directly affect our daily behaviors and lifestyles, and together these determine up to 80–90 percent of our health outcomes.” It quickly becomes clear—it’s more than a house.
As Julie Jacobson stressed during her recent presentation on “Biodigitry” at the Azione Unlimited Fall Symphystic Synod, “…home wellness intrinsically impacts our lives.”
Data culled from countless research is damning – we are outdoor creatures yet, on average spend upwards of 80-90 percent of our time indoors. This leads to circadian, internal body clock disruptions with real implications. Citing ScienceDirect, and not at the expense of sounding like a prime-time TV pharmaceutical commercial, “Mounting evidence indicates that the disruption of circadian regulation is associated with a wide variety of adverse health consequences, including increased risk for premature death, cancer, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular dysfunction, immune dysregulation, reproductive problems, mood disorders, and learning deficits.”
Going beyond the good intention of forcing yourself into the habit of taking periodic breaks outside every now and then, why not consider bringing the outdoors in? Again, studies show that doing so elevates your mood, enhances your daily patterns, and counteracts the effects of bad habits and stressful living.
The necessary tools can range from the most basic natural: materials, light, vegetation, views, and so on to biophilic-inspired “connecting-to-nature” devices that electronically simulate nature either with light, visual, or audible stimulation to more formal Smart Home Technology solutions including: air/water quality control, energy automation, human-centric lighting, sound suppression, and even sleep augmentation systems, for starters.
So, given the gravity surrounding the subject and that architects, designers, and home technology experts have a hand in delivering increased home wellness through design, illumination, materials and furnishing how might this conversation and collaboration evolve further? What does home wellness look like to you and how are you expanding your skillset and circle to provide increased service to your clients?