Positive, Physical, and Mental Effects of Wood in Residential Buildings

Everyone Loves Wood

There is no substance more natural, more comfortable than wood. It harkens back to ancestral days when trees sheltered us, blessed us with sturdy tools, and handed us the gift of fire. Wood can be shaped, roughened, sanded, and stained into reflections of art or practical items of simplicity. There is nothing like it.

Touching It Brings A Smile

Studies show that there are many positive physical and mental effects of wood. Simply placing your palm on a wood surface triggers physical relaxation – activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex actually slows. Even the body’s “parasympathetic” nervous system is activated, dampening feelings of anxiety or stress. Similar tests with stainless steel, marble, and tile, however, do not bring about these calming effects.

Admiring It Brings Calm

Sally Augustin Ph.D. describes how simply looking at wood can boost our feelings of well-being and improve performance. Since it’s the wood grain pattern that appears to stimulate these positive effects, even realistic artificial patterns can work effectively.

Why Is Wood So Great?

Studies indicate that one of the effects of wood functions by mimicking those same positive effects we feel when we spend time outside, exposing ourselves directly to nature. Our heart rate lowers, blood pressure drops, and we feel better than we do when exposed to concrete and plastics.

Integrate Wood Into Home Living

Wood is a great choice for flooring, ceiling accents, and so many other residential elements. We feel calm and secure when surrounded by something so natural. Why not strengthen that warm link to Mother Nature when building a home? Some experts feel that limiting the use of wood to
roughly 45 percent of a room’s surfaces is ideal.

Do People Know About the Effects of Wood?

In Japan, the majority of new houses in 2014 were wooden, and 88 percent of detached houses were wooden as well. Japan is increasing its use of wood in homes and has an expression – “moku-iku” – which translates to “an initiative to encourage all people to interact with wood, learn from wood, and live with wood.”

Humans first appeared in a natural world filled with trees, not concrete and plastics. Why not stay with the natural?