What is a healing environment?

What exactly contributes to a healing environment? The answer is complex, in part because it can vary based on culture and personal preferences. But current research strongly supports a number of physical and organizational changes that can increase healing in healthcare settings. 

woman sitting in meditationWhat is healing?

The word healing comes from the Anglo-Saxon word haelen, which means to make whole. One way to look at it is as harmony of mind, body, and spirit.

Healing is not the same as curing (which is more about fixing problems, eradicating disease, and decreasing symptoms). People can be healed even if they are not cured. For example, those with a chronic disease can learn to live in peace with their condition. Conversely, people may be cured but not healed. For example Susan, who had treatment that eliminated her breast cancer, finds herself still grieving and angry at her losses and unable to function.

One common effect of healing is a reduction in stress and anxiety, which in turn positively impacts our bodies in many ways. (For more on this, see What Impact Does the Environment Have on Us?)