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Wooden Furniture: Proven to be Good For Your Mental Health

Well here's something exciting. That wooden coffee table or bookshelf of yours isn't just a pretty face. The science is in, and it's a big deal: a home or office full of wooden furniture is good for your mental and spiritual health, and also can be a boon to your creative energy.
Numerous studies have been conducted over the last few years that have shown the benefits of wooden furniture on mood and mental health. We first got interested in this phenomenon when reading that researchers at the University of Maryland found that "the presence of natural elements in a room, such as plants and wood, can lead to decreased levels of anxiety and depression."

We're not surprised, but we wanted to make sure, so we went hunting for more evidence. It turns out this has been widely studied, and yes, it's true. Wood makes you feel good.

One of the more remarkable studies came from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Researchers got a whole bunch of people into a room and blindfolded them, aiming to clarify the physiological effects of touching wood with the palm, especially on brain activity and autonomic nervous activity. Each subject placed their palm on wood, and then proceeded to place their palm on marble, tile, and stainless steel. The researchers then measured brain activity, heart rate variability, and countless other things we don't claim to understand. But if you do, the whole study can be read here.

The results were pretty astounding. As the researchers put it in their conclusion, "In comparison with other materials (marble, tile and stainless steel), tactile stimulation of the palm with white oak significantly decreased the oxy-Hb concentration in the left/right prefrontal cortex, which is associated with prefrontal cortex activity, and significantly increased the ln(HF) component of HRV, which reflected parasympathetic nervous activity. These findings indicate that contact with wood induces physiological relaxation."

Wooden Table Top

If that sounds like a lot of crap, believe us, it's not. Significant increases in the In(HF) component of HRV is directly linked to activating the part of your nervous system built to soothe and relax you.  In other words, wood calms you down and makes you feel good.

Harvard researchers concluded in a similar study that "biophilic environments had larger restorative impacts than a non-biophilic environment in terms of reducing physiological stress and psychological anxiety level. Additionally, restorative effects differ among three different types of indoor biophilic environments with indoor biophilic elements (i.e. green plants, wooden material) facilitate the recovery of physiological stress."

Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that "those who live in homes with wood paneling or floors rated their quality of life higher than those who do not." Wooden furniture can also increase creativity and productivity. A study by the University of Texas found that "workers who were surrounded by objects made of natural materials, such as wood, felt more inspired and creative than those who weren't."

So even if you're not the anxious type, surrounding yourself with wooden decor and flooring -- or even covering your walls in reclaimed wood panels -- can make you more creative and productive.

And yes, we're obviously biased. You're at the right place. Now that you're caught up on the secret powers of wooden furniture, head over to Wooden Soul and browse our curated collections of fine reclaimed and rustic solid wood furniture.