It is generally accepted that contact with nature is beneficial for our health and well-being. Doctors prescribe nature outings for their patients, and environmental psychologists, in the interest of public health, advocate the preservation of green zones within urban communities. The closer we are to natural spaces – the more time we are likely to spend in them – the healthier we get. Besides beauty, adventure and fascination, nature also gives us a sense of connection, peace, wonder and an existential experience. In environmental psychological terms these values are referred to as restorative – they contribute to recuperation. Primarily virgin nature, or nature that appears untouched by humans, seems to possess these health-promoting benefits.
In our everyday lives, however, we are exposed to environments that are so colourless, sterile or chaotic that they are stressful. Images, lights and sounds overwhelm us and we have to mentally exert ourselves to sift through the information. Many of us are partially or completely confined in places or situations where there is no access to fresh air, soil, trees, water or wildlife. In such situations pictures and sounds can offer contact with nature that improves our sense of well-being.
Health care facilities are often stark and sterile places teeming with technical equipment – environments that patients/visitors find frightening and stressful. Research has shown that a single picture of greenery increases a patient’s sense of well-being and quickens recovery. Images from nature have also been shown to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure by signalling the brain that we are safe and can relax.
To fill the need for outdoor contact inside health care facilities we have developed nature films centred on the findings of environmental psychological research that form the foundation for “Green Rehab” (garden therapy). We have consistently availed ourselves of natural locations that have been shown to possess restorative qualities. Research shows that environments that resemble the surroundings of the original humans – the African savannah with its open spaces, shaded groves and running water – is the kind of environment that gives the most positive responses. With each film we have endeavoured to portray the values we have ourselves experienced in the various settings, creating a nature film that hovers between art and the science of environmental psychology. We aim to film as much untouched nature as possible – nature that needs to be actively protected to preserve it for future generations.
For optimal viewing experience the nature films should be presented in a manner that hides the electronic equipment allowing the viewer to experience images and sounds without external distractions. This can be accomplished in many ways. Televisions can be mounted in a cabinet or frame, films can be projected onto a screen, and smaller monitors can be built into the wall – just to give a few examples. There are as many solutions as there are viewers and settings. The important thing is that the film does not demand anything of the viewer but is simply available as a possible viewpoint – something on which to rest the eyes and provide contact with the environmental context we are all a part of.
Illustrations by Eva Erwander, Kontor Kontur
Would you like more information about
the films and how they can be presented?
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Marianne Strand is a scriptwriter, filmmaker and project leader for Restorative Film. She has studied at Stockholm’s University of Drama, Gothenburg University and Lund University.
Malin Nicander is a cinematographer and documentary film producer. Educated at the Polish School of Film in Lódz, she has worked with documentaries, animation and fiction.
Annica Sjölander, M.D. in neurochemistry and research co-ordinator at the Centre for Culture and Health, Gothenburg University.
RESTORATIVE FILM is run in collaboration between filmmakers and medical researchers. The purpose of the project is to explore the potential that nature films have to convey restorative value to various patient groups in different health care settings. All profits from the sale of films are reinvested in continued research on the subject.
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Films are sold separately or as a package. Public performance rights can be granted for a single occasion or for unlimited showings in several venues. Contact us for a cost estimate.
Trailers of our films are available for viewing at www.yournature.se
A series of calm, green scenes and close-ups invite the viewer to rest in a safe setting. The storyline follows the movement from a pond at dawn to a field at noon, becoming gradually lighter and warmer with the natural sounds of water and birdsong.
Sceneries and close-ups from a day on an 18th century farm in Bohoslän on the west coast of Sweden. Images have been chosen that reflect beauty, respite and milieu. Natural sound.
Images lead the viewer through a leafy forest in early summer and travels from the forest floor up through the treetops. Values offered to the viewer include respite and tranquil fascination.
Three scenes from the Swedish west coast display a rocky landscape with stone walls, cotton grass and water at twilight – images that convey a sense of ageless solemnity. Natural sound.
Four flowers, four colours that almost imperceptibly intensify. The film, which is still in production, will have specially composed by Rickard Åström. Read about the research project “The Body’s Musical Score” that Rickard is involved with at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg: CLICK HERE.
We bring nature into health care facilities. The waiting room that feels confining; the examination room that is full of intimidating equipment; the long windowless corridor ¬– can all be brightened by our restorative films.
We have several films available for sale but can also produce custom films. If you have a location you are anxious to preserve or a biotope that your patients identify with, we can help you to present them through film. All our films are edited to create a comprehensive experience. Ambience, length and sound are created to fit your purposes.
Information presented clearly, dramatically and harmoniously can help the visitor receive and understand important messages without becoming stressed. We work with natural sound as well as especially composed film music and help you comprehensibly present your information.
Custom designed presentation
Whatever mode of presentation you choose, we can help you mount the technology in a way that fits your setting. We work with televisions, projectors and digital screens and can offer simple solutions through a USB, or develop programming through a server or media-player – based on your specific needs. We work with leading digital signage companies.
Since every setting is unique, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your next step. We work with both private and public health care institutions.
Annerstedt, Matilda: Nature and Public Health – aspects of promotion, prevention, and intervention (2011). Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet., Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae.
Naturvårdsverket: Naturen som kraftkälla, Om hur och varför naturen påverkar hälsa (2006).
Nilsson K (red) m fl. Forests, trees and human health. Springer science (2011).
Sahlin E och Ahlborg G: Utvärdering av Gröna rehab, ISM häfte 3. Institutet
Lekande läkande rum, "En skrift om samarbete kring att forma rum
för vård, lek och tillfrisknande". Redaktörer Eva Erwander, Mania Teimouri, Emilia Wärff, Kultur i Väst 2013
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or call: 0733 – 147 397.