What are Wellness Centers?
In today’s modern world the most common place you go for better health is typically when you become sick, and in illness you seek better health when you go to a Hospital. The Hospital is the Center that you go to when illness is already the issue.
Yet what if you could focus on preventive measures and to utilize Medicine for Wellness? What if you could go to a place where it focused on achieving and maintaining good health and wellness?
What if this place was a central location where you could find support for physical, mental, psychological and emotional well being? A place where you could meet with health professionals using many modalities that can work together if and when needed, and to ensure that you are using best practices and being cared for as a whole human being – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Turning illness into Wellness
This type of location is called a Wellness Center.
While a hospital is a great resource for when you are ill and need emergency medical attention, the Wellness Center is a place where you can go to support good health. In this Wellness Center you can work towards achieving and maintaining this good health.
A Wellness Center, What’s That?
Imagine a time, perhaps when you were young as a child going to the see a doctor, or going to a hospital when you were sick. Did going to these places induce fear or promote the desire to go there on a regular basis?
Or even as an adult when you have had an injury or illness, did going to these Hospitals and medical centers induce fear, or support the health and healing process?
Did you feel comforted or scared of the people in white coats and the sterile rooms and the machines in these rooms?
Did you feel nurtured?
Or perhaps you felt even more afraid of going to these places than you feared the very ailments that brought you there?
Hospitals are in many ways miraculous places, and the skill and knowledge of doctors and nurses are often literally life saving. And life saving is exactly what hospitals are for, to provide that emergency care after you already have an injury.
Yet what about the rest of your life? Are you being supported for best health in a preventive and participatory process, or are you simply avoiding illness and waiting for a hospital and a doctor for the fix?
What’s the Opposite of a Hospital? A Wellness Center
Wellness Centers are integrative, multidisciplinary places, where a number of health related professionals are there to support your health. While there may be in the same building, or located near each other, they are there to work as a team to support your health in an integrative and supportive format.
This location consists of a wide range of health professionals, and also an integrated center that includes the focus on physical health, mental/psychological health, emotional health and spiritual health. The professionals are wide ranging, from Doctors, Acupuncturists, and Ayurveda professionals, to Psychologists, Nutritionists, Yoga and Meditation instructors as well as a wide range of other professionals that are there to support your overall health.
While many individual groups currently offer these modalities, the key is the integration of these health resources, and the interconnections professionals can have to fully support your health as a whole being.
Imagine a place where you can learn about your own health from youth to old age and can learn to take care of your health and take responsibility for your own wellness. This process, along with the support of these professionals, can bring a lifelong connection to your health and wellness – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Imagine a place where people can go, from children to the elderly and all ages in between as the common populous, that not only consists of professionals that nurture your good health, but the location itself – the architecture – is also designed to be nurturing.
Wellness Centers showcase the opportunity to design spaces and places that comfort and nurture humans during some of their most vulnerable times, from youth to old age.
What Kinds of Designs are Nurturing?
As new research in Neuroscience in Architecture or Neuroarchitecture is now showing, there are certain spaces, shapes, textures and forms, such as those that are more curving with warm colors that can create less stress physiologically. These designs include quiet comforting sounds, more natural and comforting lighting and softer interior environments that can physiologically create more calm and less stress. Designs that have less sharp angles and edges have shown that this can be more comforting and can lead to more nurturing experiences, as well as creating less fear.
These designs can physically have an impact on your brain, where designs with sharper edges, harder textures and noisy environments have been shown to activate the amygdala and in turn cause the body to be in a more “stress” induced mode. This increase in stimulation of the amygdala increases fear and stress. When you are sick or injured and go to a location that creates more stress due to the architectural and aesthetic designs, it is only adding to the stress, which can also decrease the ability to heal. (Moshe Bar, Maital Neta)
If children have this experience at a young age, where the concept of a doctor and healthcare triggers a memory of fear, then this causes unnecessary stress over a lifetime.
However, if children experienced a more nurturing, empowering environment at Wellness Center that made them feel more at ease, then as they get older they may be more likely to work on their health at these Wellness Centers, instead of avoiding a health professional.
It’s also known that views of nature can support healing, as was shown in the now famous study that was done in the 1980’s by Robert Ulrich at the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University. In his study he found that surgery patients assigned to a room with a window view of a natural scene recovered faster and were more satisfied with their stay than patients whose windows faced a brick wall (Robert Ulrich).
In many ways this study by Dr. Ulrich began the Healthy Hospital and Evidence-Based Design trajectory that has provided a path towards better Health in the Built Environment. And much of this research and development is now being applied to the general field of Architecture, where combined with the knowledge in Medicine can overlap for Built Environments that can support and nurture Health and Well being.
And that is another key in having these “centers”, where the architecture of these places as a “center”, reflects on health as a whole, as a center of your well being that works on all levels of who you are as a human being.
Hence the term Wellness “Center”. If there are health issues that require immediate care or more extensive medical support, then the hospital is where you’d go for such support. However, even the design of the future hospital can support this nurturing through architectural designs along with room aesthetics, including better development of the technical equipment to create less stress in these Hospital rooms.
In this process, society at large can feel more supported for better health and can have the resources, as well and the comfort level to work on good health for quality of life.
This is a Wellness Center, the future of your own good Medicine.