A Window as an Essential Element for Wellness and Healing in the Healthcare Environment: Are Daylight and Artificial Light Equal?

By Julie Whitmore.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The impact that our built environment will have on us was noted by Sir Winston Churchill when he stated “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”. This profound insight summarizes the research about light and our health that supports the decision to include access to nature in our buildings.
Ulrich at al. proposed in 1991 a psycho—evolutionary theory attributing positive healing effects to nature views through a window. The relationship between bright light, (both natural and artificial), and improved health care outcomes is also well documented (Rashid and Zimring, 2008). It has been demonstrated that increased amounts of sunlight in patients’ rooms improve physiological and psychological health and decrease analgesia use, medication cost, and length of stay (Walch et al. 2005).
The seminal discovery in 2001 of a new receptor cell (ganglion) in the human eye that registers the quality (color) of light and impacts the circadian system initiated research that has continued for a decade (Berson et al. 2002). This article brings together the empirical data of photobiology, syntonic therapy and the various hypothesis of biophilia together to form new perspectives on research for light and its impact on the immune system and our health.

Keywords: Light, Biophilia, Window, Immune System, Melatonin, Daylight, Windowview, Photobiology, Fluorescent Lighting, Non-Visual Receptors, Healthcare Environment

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.163-172. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.796MB).

Prof. Julie Whitmore

Assistant Professor Interior Design, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Health Science and Human Services, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA

Julie Whitmore was born in Ohio and educated in England and the United States. She attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia for her undergraduate in Interior Design and Temple University for her Masters in Art Administration. Her professional training also includes specialization in color and personality from the Institute of Colour Therapeutics in England. She is a member of A.S.I.D., I.D.E.C. and is a N.C.I.D. Q (certified professional Interior Designer). She is currently an Assistant Professor of Interior Design in the College of Health Science and Human Services at University of Akron. Her reaserach interest is in Light and its impact on the Human Immune system.