Dental fears are a common problem, but did you know that you can appeal to your patients’ senses to help them relax?
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help craft a welcoming atmosphere in your practice is to consider the colours used in the décor. Studies have found that colours each hold subconscious associations, and these can help to influence the mood of the individual looking at them. Blues, greens and neutral earth tones such as light browns have all been found to be the most relaxing, though other colours such as yellow also have a positive impact on people’s moods.[i] This makes these colours good candidates for walls and other design elements within your practice setting, as they can help encourage relaxation.
Another study has found that patterns also have a noticeable effect on people’s dispositions.[ii] Repeated patterns were found to be the most appealing, whilst those with less contrast and softer lines were found to be the most calming. Therefore, it could be worthwhile exploring patterned wallpaper or upholstered seats with soft, repeated patterns in the waiting room, as a way to encourage feelings of calm.
It’s not uncommon for people to find certain textures and fabrics comforting. A Japanese study revealed that soft fabrics helped participants feel peaceful when they touched them, and this suggests that choosing tactile fabrics for seat upholstery or carpeting in a practice may help to relax patients.[iii]
There are plenty of soothing sounds that have been proven to help us feel calm and at peace. Ambient nature sounds such as recordings of forests and running streams can cut levels of anxiety considerably,[iv] and this is because they physically alter the connections in our brains, limiting our fight or flight response and helping us to calm down.
Classical music has also been found to have positive effects, lowering our blood pressure and reducing our cortisol levels to help us relax. Adding some Mozart to your waiting room or even offering to play this music during treatment may be beneficial for nervous patients.[v]
Various fragrances are proven to be beneficial when it comes to combatting stress. Lavender, in particular, has been found to be highly effective at calming individuals, encouraging feelings of relaxation.[vi]
In light of this, scenting your practice with a device or an air freshener may work wonders. The Premium Scenting Cube from Initial Medical is a particularly good option for scenting practices as it has a range of soothing fragrances available including freshly baked cookies and lavender. The table-top device can scent up to 283m3 and emits scent in a vapour, leaving no wet deposits on surfaces.
Something to consider
By harnessing the power of people’s senses you can help ensure that your practice offers a welcoming, calming space that will help people to overcome their fears.
For further information please visit www.initial.co.uk/medical or Tel: 0870 850 4045
[i] Kurt, S., Osueke, K. The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students. Sage Journals. 2014; 4(1).
[ii] World Economic Forum. Psychotextiles Can Change Patterns – And Your Mood. Link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/psychotextiles-can-change-patterns-and-your-mood [Last accessed Dec 18].
[iii] Koga, K., Iwasaki, Y. Psychological and Physiological Effect in Humans of Touching Plant Foliage – Using the Semantic Differential Method and Cerebral Activity as Indicators. J Physiol Anthropol. 2013; 32(1): 7.
[iv] Health. Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, According to Science. Link: https://www.health.com/stress/why-nature-sounds-are-relaxing [Last accessed Dec 18].
[v] Reader’s Digest. 10 Wondrous Things That Happen to Your Body When You Listen to Classical Music. Link: https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/classical-music-effects/ [Last accessed December 18].
[vi] Kianpour, M., Mansouri, A., Mehrabi, T., Asghari, G. Effect of Lavender Scent Inhalation on Prevention of Stress, Anxiety and Depression in the Postpartum Period. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2016 Mar-Apr; 21(2): 197–201.