18. Essential Features of a Healing Home


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Could your home environment be contributing to you and your family's stress? It may be without you realizing it.

Did you know that, conversely, your home can be curated to encourage relaxation, joy, and healing--to optimize wellbeing?

Esther Sternberg, MD is Research Director and Chair at the Andrew Weil Center Integrative Medicine. She is also author of the books, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-being and The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions.

In this podcast, Dr. Sternberg explains what the science has discovered about how certain design elements of a physical space can affect our immune response, stress, relaxation, memories, and peace. She also shares the personal experiences that have led to the life-changing research she does today.

As you detox your home and lifestyle, listen to this fascinating and empowering conversation for inspirations on the simple ways you can reconstruct your routines and space with positive, healing triggers that Dr. Sternberg and I discuss. These positive, healing triggers can be included in your home design, routines, rituals, aromatherapy, art, music, and meditation.


Click here for podcast show notes


  • [02:57] Intro
  • [07:20] How what we see around us can affect our emotions.
  • [10:45] How can stress make you sick?
  • [12:44] Environment can contribute to sickness and wellbeing
  • [13:00] Views of nature can be calming.
  • [16:58] The calming effects of fractals and labyrinths.
  • [31:24] Positive, healing triggers of good memories and feel-good hormones
  • [32:52] Taste can trigger good memories.
  • [35:42] The power of full spectrum sunlight.
  • [39:38] Aromatherapy and smell’s effect on healing.
  • [43:04] Music, singing and the impacts of sound.
  • [49:11] The magic of silence and meditation.
  • [1:06:24] It’s never too late to heal.
  • [1:10:10] Finding the sounds of peace.
  • “Physical environment impacts your memories, your emotions and then ultimately healing because there is a connection between the brain and the immune system... there really is a connection between the brain and the immune system, and when that connection is in tact you have health. And when you break that connection, you have disease.” - Dr. Sternberg
  • “...we can design the environment to optimize health to reduce stress, to actually enhance the positive” - Dr. Sternberg
  • “...you can fill your home with the kinds of things that will trigger your relaxation response that can also help you stay happy, healthy and heal.” - Dr. Sternberg
  • There are some studies that show that a minimum of three plants—up to 37 plants—can be calming

  • Taste is a very very powerful trigger of positive memories and positive emotions.

  • “So it doesn't matter when you start You can always begin to reverse the process. And it's really a lifestyle change...it does not matter when you start, you'll always be able to improve that resilience if you engage in these healthy lifestyle changes.”- Dr. Sternberg

Find | Sophia Ruan Gushee

At Ruanliving.com

On Instagram: @RuanLiving

On Twitter: @SophiaGushee

On Facebook: @RuanLiving

Find | Esther Sternberg

At Esthersternberg.com

On Instagram: @dresternberg

On Twitter: @DrEsternberg


On Apple Podcasts


Podcast Composer: Chris Robertson

Photographer: Pascal Perich