Right now, society is facing a rapid increase in chronic disease, and the negative impacts on quality of life are starting at an earlier age. As the need for healthcare rises, and the pressure to control rising healthcare costs mounts, healthcare facilities face a real challenge to treat patients effectively and efficiently. Most healthcare settings are taxed with day-to-day pressures and the increasing costs of clinical care. The strain of these pressures on staff and patients is clear. With limited resources and overworked staff, healthcare administrators tend to exclusively focus on providing a clean environment with cutting-edge medical equipment. While these qualities are important in a healthcare setting, without attention to the aesthetic feel of a space, the resulting buildings and rooms in hospitals, nursing homes, dentist’s offices, and other healthcare spaces often feel isolated from the outside world and completely cut off from nature.
Holistic approaches to treating disease include tending to emotional and psychological stress that contributes to illness—stress that can be decreased with minor changes in environment. Although the notion that natural elements such as sunlight are important to healing has been around for centuries; it has only been in the past 50 years or so that scientists began conducting studies to support it. In a landmark study published in 1984, environmental psychologist, Roger Ulrich, found that postoperative gall-bladder surgery patients whose hospital rooms had windows with views of a park had better outcomes than those patients whose rooms had windows with views of a brick wall. Patients with windows complained less to staff, needed analgesic pain medication of lesser strength, and were discharged earlier. More recent studies conducted by Ulrich and his colleagues demonstrate that, in addition to views of nature, representations of nature such as nature art will also promote healing and restoration.
Helena’s art has been used for years by a wide variety of healthcare practitioners—from nurses to acupuncturists to life coaches—to aid in their healing work with patients. Ithaca, NY, acupuncturist, Jane Kennedy, expresses the essence of NaturezaCura™ when she notes how Helena’s work pulls her in and reminds her of the walks she takes in the woods and gorges around the Finger Lakes region. “I am so nourished by those walks,” says Jane, “and I feel like Helena’s art brings that healing food into my office in a way that other photographs can’t. It is not the way it all looks exactly but rather the feeling one gets when in nature and when one is being touched by all the colors, the wind and sounds and those magical moments when the light hits the leaves or the water in a certain way that is so powerful.” Helena’s images have also brought healing to clinicians themselves, such as Kristin Stevens OB/GYN, N.P. at Ithaca Med who says, “Helena Cooper’s art draws me into a quiet internal calm that I often forget in the process of doing my work. In those moments, I remember what is important.”
 (Ulrich, 1984); (Ulrich, Lunden, and Eltinge, 1993); (Ulrich and Gilpin, 2003)