Plants Ease Recovery from Surgery

Patients recovering from abdominal surgery benefited from having plants in their hospital rooms.  They had less pain, needed lower doses of pain medicine, and had lower heart rates and blood pressure.  As they got better, they spent time watering and tending the plants.

In addition, patients with plants were less fatigued and anxious.   They were happier with their rooms, and 93 percent of them said that the plants were the best part of the room.  Patients without plants said that watching television was the most positive aspect of their hospital stay.

Horticulturalists from Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry at Kansas State University randomly assigned 90 patients recovering from appendectomies to rooms with flowering and foliage plants or rooms without them.  Plants were considered better than cut flowers because they lasted longer.

They studied the amount of pain medicine used, vital signs, and measures of pain intensity , anxiety, fatigue, and distress from pain.  They also asked patients about their satisfaction with their hospital room.

Overall, patients with plants in their rooms had less pain, anxiety, distress, and fatigue.  Their vital signs were lower, and they used less pain medicine.  They also were happier with their hospital rooms.

Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson concluded,

Findings of this research suggested that plants in a hospital environment could be noninvasive, inexpensive, and an effective complementary medicine for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.

SOURCE: Park et al., HortTechnology, published online October 1, 2008.


  1. Deborah Kanter says

    This easy to accomplish therapy makes absolute sense. In addition to the reasons cited above, there are energies released by the plants that will benefit the humans who also occupy the space.

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