The Benefits of Waterfall Images in Healthcare Design

By Kurt Johnson Photography • October 13, 2022

A stunning soothing waterfall image is surrounding by the golden autumn trees and foilage in seasonal shades of orange, yellow and green creating a healing focal point for healing environments.

“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear. “ – Prasad Mahes

As humans, our connection to water runs deep. We need fresh, clean water for survival, so it makes sense that being near water and viewing waterscapes, and particularly waterfall images, provides us with a sense of calm and tranquility when we can’t be outdoors. And that’s what makes these soothing images sought after in hospitals and other healthcare environments.

According to Stephen Kellert, one of the pioneers of biophilic design, “Research has revealed that exposure to water can generate significant physical and mental benefits, including stress relief, enhanced performance, and improved problem solving and creativity” (Nature By Design 2018).

In Kathy Hathorn and Upali Nanda’s A Guide to Evidence-based Art, they reveal nature art can promote restoration if it contains certain specific features, including calm or slowly moving water (The Center for Health Design 2008), like waterfall images.

And research supports that viewing nature images has some of the same benefits as being outdoors, including lowering anxiety and blood pressure, providing a sense of calm and hope, and even lessening the need for pain medications during recovery. All pretty significant factors when designing hospitals and other wellness environments whose primary job is to support health and healing.

Kellert also writes:

“Water is often especially appealing when it is in motion; when it is relatively clear, but contains sufficient nutrients to support life; and when it is capable of engaging a diverse array of senses. Indirect strategies such as pictures…can greatly assist the practice of biophilic design.”

And soothing waterfall images are a great way of bringing those healing properties into built environments.

At Kurt Johnson Photography, our art has a job to do – providing a sense of calm, comfort and hope for patients and the entire care team. And incorporating waterfall images into healthcare environments can bring nature indoors to create transformative spaces for healing.

“There’s no better place to find yourself than sitting by a waterfall and listening to its music.”

– Roland R Kemler

“Not all falls are failures. Some are a way back home.”


“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you.”

-Mehmet Murat Ildan

“A river cuts through a rock, not because of its power but because of its persistence.”

– Jim Watkins

Reach out if we can help you create an environment that supports the principles of biophilic design and will transform the lives of the entire care team. It’s our specialty and our passion.

Categories: Healing, Photography, Research

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