"Healing Spaces" By Esther Sternberg

Sunrise from the top of Haleakala (Maui, HI) taken with Nikon D800 and Nikkor 24-85mm.

How Environment Affects Health

Remember books? Like computers but different! If you occasionally partake, I have a recommendation for you.

From building design to photography in a recovery room, imagery is more than just a backdrop, especially in healthcare settings. If you’re interested in what I do and want to know more about evidence-based art and design, Healing Spaces, by Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., explores the science of how nature promotes healing. In it, she talks about many organizations' finding in how environment can improve health in hospitals, but also communities and neighborhoods.

Evening forest light at Opal Creek, taken with Nikon D800 and Nikkor 24-85mm.

She also emphasizes how we as individuals, can “carve out a few moments here and there to allow ourselves to be aware of our place in the world and its place inside of us.”

Don’t worry if you’re not super adept at science lingo – this book is for everybody, layman and scientist alike. Learn how passively experiencing nature (as opposed to being active like hiking or gardening) can make the brain release endorphins, the overall happiness chemicals that make you feel good and even relieve pain.


In an interview with Therapeutic Landscapes Network, Sternberg says, “We are affected by our environment, and if we manipulate our surroundings to reduce stress and to provide positive responses, we will benefit.” The immune system is connected to our senses, so how we perceive our surroundings can have a big effect.

Want a short, sweeping preview? Check out her TEDx talk where she talks mostly about nature imagery and design in large healthcare buildings, but even how to make a cubical a more healthy place.

Learn more about Esther Sternberg, her talks, publications, and work, at her website: https://esthersternberg.com/