Sending flowers to your sick or sad friend might be a universal go-to gift, but the heartwarming gesture is actually more helpful than you think. I know it may be surprising, but there's more to flowers than just a sweet smell and a pretty face—recent research suggests they can have some seriously positive effects on our health, too.
The American Society for Horticulture Science performed a study evaluating whether plants can have therapeutic influences on surgical patients, and the results are honestly kind of shocking. Ninety patients who had recently had appendectomies were split into rooms either with plants or without plants, and those in areas with some kind of foliage had a much more positive experience overall than those who didn't.
According to the study, those exposed to flowers had lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms than the patients without foliage. The findings from this research actually suggests that flowers could be "complementary medicine" for recovering patients.
Bouquets of flowers can actually also make us feel less stressed out, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies In Medicine. The study gave college-aged women a fresh vase of roses for their dorm rooms, and the results included the subjects feeling more relaxed and stress-free than before. I don't know about you, but this info is persuading me to go out and buy myself a bouquet—or six.
Note: This story originally appeared on HouseBeautiful.com on May 17, 2019. It was updated on July 8, 2019 to clarify that the patients in the American Society for Horticultural Science study had all underwent appendectomy surgery. More research would be needed to assess how having flowers around would impact people dealing with other types of surgeries.
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