Your health is in your home

Your health is in your home

Your health is in your home

The interiors of a home can have a profound impact on your health. Bindu Gopal Rao gives us some pointers on the relationship between health and homes.

While homes are everyone’s ultimate dream, they are also spaces where you spend the most amount of time in. So, if your home was going to have a positive impact on your health, it would certainly enhance the overall space by a notch. Wondering how your home and health are connected? Read on.

Home matters

A home and its interiors play a very important role in affecting the health and well-being of the occupants of the house. One of the most important elements is the shape of the building and the internal layout. 

“Many studies have been conducted and it has been proven that people living in square or rectangle-shaped homes are more healthy than those living in homes with an odd shape (like L-shape) that have missing or cut corners,” says Ajay Poddar, managing director, Syenergy Environics Limited.

He adds, “This is so because a regular shaped building is more conducive to the good flow of air, sunlight and energy. Layouts with odd shapes create energy imbalances and agitated air flows inside the home, leading to disturbances in health. A layout with the central part of the home being open or free of any structures is preferable. If toilets and kitchen are in the central part, they disturb the energies of the house by blocking vital points.” 

We spend most of our time indoors. The quality of air we breathe influences our health in a big way. 

“Hence, our homes need to be healthy in order to enhance our well-being and help us live better. Indoor air quality is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Usually, we assume the air around us is free from infectious germs. Our homes are planned, designed and built to help improve the health in a home. With proper design, you can prevent mosquitos and other insects from entering your house and spreading diseases. For that, we use natural materials to reduce VOC emissions,” says Venkat Chalasani, CEO, Samskruti Builders. 

The ability to find out the levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, VOCs, lighting, humidity, temperature, noise levels and water quality in the home helps you in taking corrective measures. 

Materially speaking

Natural construction elements and materials used in homes are neutral for health. Health can’t be enhanced by any of the construction elements and materials. However, there are many factors which can have adverse effects on the overall health of the residents. 

“Materials having a high quartz element (like granite) should not be used inside bedrooms and living areas as they emit radon gas and affect the nervous system of an individual. Sharp edges on beams and columns should be avoided as they discharge ions at a negative angle.

The edges on beams and columns should be tapered or rounded. Mirrors should not be installed in a way that they cut the body axis while sleeping. Non-synthetic materials and non-synthetic paints should be used inside homes for better health,” advises Poddar. 

Wood is also gaining prominence as a construction material. Besides the short time needed for construction of such structures, it is also an environment-friendly material with minimum carbon footprint. 

Research also shows that wood products need the least amount of energy to manufacture and that this process has the lowest impact on air and water quality.“Wood-frame construction is easy to insulate to RSI 2.62 or higher, meaning increased resident comfort and much lower heating and cooling costs over the life of a building.

It is economically feasible to add offset walls, balconies, alcoves and other features that also add interest and appeal, especially for roofs. Wood is versatile, adaptable, easy to dismantle and reassemble. Thus, wastage is minimised and it is an easy process in reclamation,” say Sanjay Sharma & architect Anurag Khandelwal from Woodbarn India. 

Traditional construction materials now have greener and smarter substitutes which could affect health positively. For instance, using concrete helps control indoor temperature and combat drainage problems during monsoons. 

“ACC thermocrete is designed to provide thermal comfort in the premises. A layer of thermocrete is usually applied over the top layer of the roof slab so that the heat or cold is kept out of the building. This kind of an arrangement keeps structures cool in summers and warm in winters,” says Anil Banchor, chief executive, ACC Concrete Business.

Decor talk

You can even think of softer aspects to enhance wellness. You could start with something as simple as having enough natural light. 

Designer Amy Billimoria explains, “The colours used in home decor emit vibrations. Colour science is an intriguing yet apt tool to keep in mind whilst choosing shades on the wall interiors as well as artefacts. Off-whites, golds and yellows play an important role in calming the vibes and therefore contribute to wellness and mental peace.”

It is also believed that the use of swarovski crystals play an important role in maintaining good health. Having paintings of Buddha or abstract paintings with colour synergies also contribute to the peace and wellbeing of residents. ‘Vastu’ matters

Vastushastri Khushdeep Bansal, Vastu expert, chairperson & founder of MahaVastu & Aunkar Foundation advises, “The North-East Zone is a zone of clarity and should be kept clean to avoid any problems relating to the mind. Also, in the North-North East, a kitchen or a storeroom could lead to severe health problems. A bedroom in the East-North East brings happiness and reduces brooding.”

“Shades of red, orange, pink or maroon in the North-East direction can cause mind-related problems. Marriage photographs, album and gifts should be placed in the South-West, the zone of love and relationships. Photo of a person placed in South-South West creates health problems for the person. The North-North East, an ideal zone for health and healing,  is best for storing medicines.” 

Home interiors have an unwinding energy that can lift your mood and reduce your stress levels. The way your furniture and other decor items are laid can bring you good fortune and keep your pockets full. 

“There are people who believe in Feng Shui and Vastu in order to bring positivity in home and maintain good health. Living under dark light or having dark interiors makes way for dullness, which should be avoided,” says Anuj Goel, ED, KDP Infrastructure. 

Many homes these days are not senior citizen-friendly. “You can minimise multiple levels in the house as elders find this a challenge. Use elder-friendly tiles and not granite floors. If there are slippery tiles, wear rubber-soled slippers. Toilets need to have a slant floor for easy draining of water, anti-skid tiles, and railings,” says Dr Udaya Kumar Maiya, medical director, Portea Medical. 

Going by the popular adage, ‘home is where the heart is’, it’s time to ensure that your home and heart are in the right place.