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Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being

Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being

Paperback

By (author) Esther M. Sternberg

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  • Publisher: The Belknap Press
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 208mm x 26mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 0674057481
  • ISBN 13: 9780674057487
  • Sales rank: 25,721

Product description

Does the world make you sick? If the distractions and distortions around you, the jarring colors and sounds, could shake up the healing chemistry of your mind, might your surroundings also have the power to heal you? This is the question Esther Sternberg explores in "Healing Spaces", a look at the marvellously rich nexus of mind and body, perception and place. Sternberg immerses us in the discoveries that have revealed a complicated working relationship between the senses, the emotions, and the immune system. First among these is the story of the researcher who, in the 1980s, found that hospital patients with a view of nature healed faster than those without. How could a pleasant view speed healing? The author pursues this question through a series of places and situations that explore the neurobiology of the senses. The book shows how a Disney theme park or a Frank Gehry concert hall, a labyrinth or a garden can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace. If our senses can lead us to a 'place of healing', it is no surprise that our place in nature is of critical importance in Sternberg's account. The health of the environment is closely linked to personal health. The discoveries this book describes point to possibilities for designing hospitals, communities, and neighborhoods that promote healing and health for all.

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Author information

Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., author of The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, has done extensive research on brain-immune interactions and the effects of the brain's stress response on health. She was on the faculty at Washington University, St. Louis, prior to joining the National Institutes of Health in 1986.

Review quote

Even the ancients understood that some places had healing powers. But in the late 20th century, scientists began to study how space affects both mental and physical health for good and ill. NIH researcher Sternberg thoroughly chronicles research on the neural pathways that connect our sensory perception of our environment with our ability to heal...The conclusions--e.g., that noise induces stress, which can impede healing--seem intuitive and well known, but readers interested in neuroscience will learn much about the research on why this is the case. Publishers Weekly 20090316 What Sternberg does so skillfully is to stitch together an explanation as to how so many of the things we intuitively find relaxing, like yoga, or sitting by the sea, or in a bright airy room, affect how quickly we heal. She provides the science to back it up and explains it so engagingly that it's hard to resist sharing her conviction. -- Linda Geddes New Scientist 20090509 Healing Spaces [is] an exploration of environmental influences over the brain, the body and the course of mental and physical disease...Anyone who has ever felt peace descend in lovely surroundings will find a few seeds of explanation in her book. -- Abigail Zuger, M.D. New York Times 20090630 In this fascinating book, physician Esther M. Sternberg explores the intersection of architecture and medicine; the studies and conferences (primarily through the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture) and vast body of literature that reveals the extent to which our external environment plays a role in healing...Sternberg's findings are fascinating, some strange, some pure common sense--thought-provoking for both individuals and institutions. -- Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles Times 20090628 After this fascinating, engaging, and challenging read I'll think about the health consequences of where I am in a different way. -- Richard Mitchell The Lancet 20090704 Sternberg offers a fascinating study of the complex relationships between health and "healing places."...She makes the work of many pioneers in brain and behavioral research accessible to laypersons even as they rub elbows with such figures as Walt Disney, Frank Gehry, and the Dalai Lama...This is a fine, thoughtful volume. -- J. Quinan Choice 20100101

Table of contents

* Healing Places * Seeing and Healing * Sound and Silence * Cotton Wool and Clouds of Frankincense * Mazes and Labyrinths * Finding Your Way... *...and Losing It * Healing Thought and Healing Prayer * Hormones of Hope and Healing * Hospitals and Well-Being * Healing Cities, Healing World * Healing Gardens and My Place of Peace * Bibliography * Acknowledgments * Index