Wood Is Good Medicine

Non-Traditional Medicine

However, my curiosity was really peaked after reading a study “Wood as a Restorative Material in Healthcare Environments” by Sally Augustin and David Fell which was published in 2015.  The goal of the report was to attempt to draw a link between the use of wood in the built environment and positive health outcomes.   The researchers reported that “early evidence suggests that the human relationship with wood is similar to previously investigated responses of 

I have been fascinated by the recent non-traditional means to improve patient recovery.  Over the years I have read about the benefits of natural sunlight, plants, water elements, rooms with a view of nature, and even the color of the room and design of the bed.  As an animal lover, I have been intrigued by the “pet” therapy in which cats and small dogs are brought to patients to hold and pet. 

humans to other natural materials.  Wood is believed to be a biophilic material that reduces stress reactive when present.  The biophilia hypothesis also called BET suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defined biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.”

Wood for Healing

The Augustin and Fell report reports that “the mind and body are looking for a connection with nature when it is absent the type of nature and the type of building are secondary.  Wood is a natural building and finishing material and therein is the fit with using it more in healthcare settings.”  The goal of any natural material in a health care setting is to reduce stress.  I think people associate wood paneling and flooring with a natural, warm environment and feel better connected to nature.  In our modern society there is something intrinsically attractive about simple inherent natural beauty.  This could be found in natural sunlight, puppies, and even wood. 

Europe for candles and soap.  It is also used as a salve and taken internal as a remedy for gum ailments.  If I end up in a hospital room, please get me a room with a view of a park, knotty pine flooring, and a cute puppy to pet!   We all know that wood is good.  Now, we now that is also good medicine.

You may be familiar with some of the traditional medicines that have come from wood.  For example, one of the major uses for Brazilian sassafras oil is the synthesis of the perfumery material heliotropin.  A potential but unrealized market for heliotropin is in the synthesis of dopa, a pharmaceutical used for the treatment of degenerative diseases in Latin America.  Cinchona alkaloids from the bark of Cinchona sp. Produce quinine for malaria and quinidine for the treatment of heart arrhythmia in Latin America.  In Southeast Asia, about twenty different species of the genus Shorea carry the illipe nut, whose oil is used in  

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for 18 years and Quality Manager for Eco Environmental (Louisville, KY) for 2 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

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