The Power of Natural Beauty:
The Emotional Benefits of Flowers for Cancer Patients
According to a psychological study at Rutgers University, flowers have an almost instantaneous affect on setting a positive mood for the recipient. Essentially, receiving flowers truly make people happy.
In that study, researchers found that recipients produced a “Duchenne” or genuine smile, reflecting true feelings of happiness, rarity in psychological studies.
Further, there is a correlation between lasting or sustained feelings of happiness and receiving flowers. In essence, flowers, though temporary in it of themselves, restore a sense of quality of life.
For those battling cancer, especially aggressive diseases like mesothelioma or pancreatic cancer, this simple gesture may decrease stress, anxiety and depression.
Delving deeper into the study, researchers discovered that flowers underscore the importance of human connections. People feel more connected with loved ones with flowers around.
The Benefits of Flowers for Cancer Patients
Battling cancer is oftentimes a traumatizing event not only for the sufferer but also for their loved ones. Many people with cancer undergo severe emotional distress along with dealing with the physical symptoms.
Behind the beautiful petals and glorious scents, there is a real, fundamental healing power with flowers for people battling cancer.
With color therapy – where certain colors positively affect moods – flower therapy is the understanding that certain types, colors and scents of flowers affect feelings.
As with many people battling cancer, it’s the littlest things that may have a profound affect on their overall well being and quality of life. As stated in the Rutgers University study, flowers increase positive feelings while dispelling stress and depression, common among cancer patients. Similarly to palliative therapies, flowers offer temporary relief without being either intrusive or invasive.
At the very least, flowers represent life, vibrancy and beauty. Restoring quality of life is critical for those in the throes of cancer.
On another level, the act of giving flowers to a cancer patient is a gesture of love and devotion. A loved one may feel helpless, but this small, yet meaningful gift reaffirms their support.
Flowers do not change anything to do with the cancer itself, like the life expectancy of a multiple myeloma patient, nor does it alter the mesothelioma survival rate, but what flowers do is reinforce the positive.
What to Know About Fresh Flowers for Cancer Patients
Depending on the type of cancer and treatment flowers may not be appropriate, though thoughtful and kind.
Different treatment regiments for cancers like peritoneal mesothelioma and lung cancer suppress the immune system, allowing patients to be more susceptible to contaminates. Fresh flowers may pose a significant health risk due to the possibility of fungus, pesticides, bugs and other contaminates present on the flowers.
Before sending flowers to anyone battling cancer, ask about any restrictions and whether flowers are appropriate. As an alternative to fresh flowers, consider silk or paper flowers. However, not as powerful, artificial flowers do positively affect thoughts, feelings and moods in cancer patients, and last.
Rutgers University. Rutgers Research: The Evolutionary Triumph of Flower Power. May 25, 2005. Accessed on March 23, 2011. (http://ur.rutgers.edu/medrel/viewArticle.html?ArticleID=4542)
Rutgers Magazine. Flower Power. Accessed on March 23, 2011. (http://magazine.rutgers.edu/departments/spring-2010/insights/flower-power)
800Florals. How Flowers Affect People’s Moods: Science and Nature Unearth New Insights into Emotional Health, Rutgers Behavioral Study Links Flowers and Life Satisfaction. Source: Society of American Florists. Accessed on March 23, 2011. (http://www.800florals.com/care/happy.asp)
Alexandra Lupu. Flower Therapy Induces Happiness and Positive Feelings. July 6, 2006. Accessed on March 23, 2011. (http://news.softpedia.com/news/Flower-Therapy-Induce-Happiness-and-Positive-Feelings-28865.shtml
Mesothelioma Community Resource Network
Bigappleflorist.com is pleased to work with the Mesothelioma Community Resource Network, a compilation of resources dedicated to increasing the mesothelioma survival rate. For more information on peritoneal mesothelioma, visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.