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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Water features in Ireland, including all aspects of water gardening.

Water Works ... The benefits of water features

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:02 am    Post subject: Water Works ... The benefits of water features Reply with quote

Water Works
By Charles Parra

It was Pindar who in his Olympian Odes, more than two thousand years ago said: "Water is the best of all things." In this pithy praise he joined luminaries from D. H. Lawrence to Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Asimov who have regarded water as the epitome of beauty, grace and spirituality in nature and have sought to capture some of its magic in their writings.

With between 50% and 70% of our body weight made up of water we are children of the fluid world ourselves, so it's not really difficult to explain the affinity we feel and the sense of calmness that overcomes us when we are near running water.
City planners, builders and architects have long known this principle. Fountains have graced ancient towns' squares from Summeria to Greece. Men of importance, kings and queens and people of wealth have always enjoyed the privilege of a garden fountain and flowing water and with good reason. The proximity of a body of water adds an extra dimension to our surroundings that finds a deeper appeal, often unconsciously, in us.

The ancient Chinese discipline of Feng Shui which looks at creating the right environmental principles for the maximum degree of health, happiness and harmony always advises to have a fountain gracing your garden or patio.
Running water in Feng Shui strengthens good fortune, wards off bad luck, promotes a harmonious environment that is good for relaxing in as well as carrying out business. The ability of water to enhance good fortune and promote harmony is so strongly believed in by the Chinese that the headquarters of the iconic Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) building in Hong Kong has specially created balcony gardens and garden rooms with fountains where business deals can be carried out within earshot of running water.

It is not enough for the fountain to create a calming, soothing, harmonious atmosphere, it also has to look good. This is why stylish outdoor fountains come in a variety of shapes and designs to match the requirements of your garden or patio.
With self-contained fountain units we have the perfect option for enjoying the power of flowing water to create the perfect atmosphere, practically anywhere. From a balcony to your desktop, there is no surface, corner or vacant area which cannot be energized and imbued with the beauty of nature.

Stress Relief in an Instant

The benefits of a fountain in the garden or patio area in reducing stress have been documented by Professor Leonard P. Perry at the University of Vermont Plant and Soil "bringing nature into our urban environments is a practice that goes back to Mesopotamia and for the very same reasons: people with busy lives, uncertain jobs and daily pressures felt the need to touch base with something soothing and primal in order to relax."
The sound of running water, apparently, is a genetic memory that reaches well back into our distant past and sends off resonances deep within our limbic brain stem which also controls such basic actions as our breathing, hunger and the fight or flight response which is the primary cause of stress in our lives.
Whatever type of existence we had back when we basked in the body of water that covered our world was obviously a lot less stressful than the one we sometimes experience today which is why the sound of running water triggers an immediate soothing response which can help reduce stress, blood pressure and even the frequency of tension headaches.

Beauty, Sight and Sound

The elements of nature have a way of engaging our senses. A fountain, with its crystal clear sound of flowing water is fundamental. It engages our eyes with its shape and form and it engages our ears with its pleasant sound.
This is why fountains can be ornaments in their own right. In a case of function and form blending seamlessly together to form a new standard, fountains provide perfect points of visual excitement, enhancing the look of any garden, patio, terrace or living room. Their appeal works to fill us up slowly with a subtle load of sensory perception that is both pervasive and subliminal.

Soothes Stretched Nerves and Aids Concentration

Beyond its normal ability to enrich the air around it with ions and promote a general feeling of wellbeing, a fountain plays a much deeper role. Psychologists studying the calming effects of flowing water have discovered that the constant sound of gurgling water in the background acts as a natural form of "white noise" canceling out unwanted distractions.
The result is that tasks which would irritate us because of their complexity and our proneness to making mistakes when we are under pressure suddenly become easier as our concentration improves and we find ourselves able to work in a much more focused and yet relaxed way.
This has led to a widespread use of fountains as the perfect solution to counteracting some of the worst effects of today's fast-paced living.

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