AWA NEWS: Introduction to the “Lighting For The Elderly” Series – Part 1 of 4
The reality of our body’s mediation of light grants control over a large part of our functionality: from our ability to see through the optic center of our brain, to regulating how we sleep through the management of circadian rhythms. Light has a substantial impact on our physiological wellbeing and exploring it provides great insight into how light can be utilized or designed to make the most of these effects.
Let us first consider how light (and color) come into play in a health-oriented society. The endocrine system governs many functions necessary for growth and well-being, such as breathing, sleeping, blood pressure, body temperature, appetite, mood changes, mental acuity, and immunity- these are all strongly affected by light, both natural and created through electricity. There is also evidence suggesting that proper quantities of visually perceived light are needed for healthy functioning of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls motivation, learning, and creativity; the limbic system, the part of the brain that stores emotional impressions of the world; and the motor cortex and the brain stem, the parts of the brain that coordinate body movement and the maintenance of life. As it relates to health and wellness, the key points to consider are the quality, the quantity, and the type of light being delivered within the space.
As the body (and eye) ages, a healthy dose of the “right” type of light at the “right” time is critical. If we look at light as a medicine and also connect with its nutritional aspects, besides the obvious aspects of reinforcing our body rhythms, many of us may lead a better quality of life. Through this series of newsletters, we will be sharing how you can use light as you age, and how the eye responds differently to light. Furthermore, we will tap into the therapeutic properties of light and color to allow you to de-stress or energize.
Our ongoing research at AWA on light and health is making inroads into widening our understanding of the impact of electric light on the human body— its physiological and psychological effects— as well as the therapeutic properties of color through light. We are developing this knowledge such that we can turn them into patented products that can then be used in architectural projects for the betterment of society.
Abhay M Wadhwa
Design Principal l CEO
AWA Lighting Designers
We will be posting the “Lighting For The Elderly” series of newsletters in three additional parts over the next three Tuesdays:
- PART 2 – Providing Appropriate Circadian Stimulus And Color
- PART 3 – Understanding The Aging Eye
- PART 4 – Where Are We Going?