What is a Healing Home?

First off, I want to say that there is a book by Suzy Chiazzari titled “The Healing Home: Creating the Perfect Place to Live with Color, Aroma, Light,and Other Natural Resources” . I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read it. Judging by the premise, it sounds like an interesting read. I feel a bit awkward about using a phrase, and perhaps a concept, coined by someone else. Though I do get the feeling that the book is coming at it from a very different angle then I am. The fact of the matter is that I’ve yet to find another descriptive phrase that encompasses what I’m looking to convey. I’m afraid that’s one of the limits of my own creativity.

Diving right in here…

I’m still working on the answer to this one myself, but I find little pieces of it here and there as I go along and this is what I have gathered so far…

I’ve heard many times over that the key to healing from Chemical Sensitivities rests in safe housing. After living through the process myself, I firmly believe this to be true. Four years ago I couldn’t get out of bed most days. I was on oxygen regularly. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be too weak to speak or raise a glass to my lips. I suffered neurological impairment to the point that I couldn’t remember how to spell my own child’s name, and couldn’t make my hands cooperate in zipping a zipper.

I still have my limitations and I still have to be very cautious, but after 2 ½ years of living in a healing home, I’m now able to be out and about in public, to care for my children and generally lead a productive and satisfying life.

As a domestically minded person, I firmly believe that the right sort of dwelling, the sort that is nurturing and health giving, can have a huge positive impact on quality of life for any number of ailments, not just the ones with an obvious association! The reverse also seems to quite obviously be true, but for now we are going to stick to the positive side of things!

You can build the safest house on the planet and it can be sterile and cold. You could build an incredible, eco-friendly home that slowly poisons its inhabitants. You can create a home that is chemically neutral (as much as that’s possible), eco-friendly, and completely inaccessible for the people who wish to live there. There is many a home that has been dreamed of or conceived, that for practical or financial reasons can never be materialized. For all of that effort, none of these houses would be healthy. What does make up a healthy home?

For one thing the entire process and the home itself needs to be looked at holistically. You can’t just say I want to build a green home, go out and follow that desire, and expect to achieve a healing home. You may get lucky, and end up with one by default, if so, I think it’s highly likely that you were actually taking other matters into consideration, whether you realized it or not!

I will go into detail about the various aspects of a healing home in the future, but for now I want to just give you a general over-view of the criteria as I currently see it. I also want to give a context through which to view our various projects. So that together we can see where we were successful and where we may have fallen short.

  • First and foremost is has to be safe, safe from any substances, people or phenomena that are likely to cause bodily, mental, or spiritual harm.
  • It has to be affordable to within the means of its inhabitants.
  • The Healing Home should make use of a wide variety of natural materials.
  • It should co-exist well, within a greater community and the local ecosystem.
  • A Healing Home would ideally utilize technologies and systems designed for working towards energy independence and lessening global impact.
  • A Healing Home takes wise advantage of local resources.
  • A Healing Home is one that is filled with natural materials that inspire creativity, spirituality, and feelings of loving gratitude. It is a welcoming space to all that enter. It is a place of beauty and pleasure.
  • A Healing home is highly accessible to it’s inhabitants.
  • On the other side of things, the people living in a home have a huge impact on the general feeling and over-all benefits (or potential harm) of that space. True healing can never take place in a home full of anger, harsh voices and fear. A Healing Home is one where the members of the household work towards a predominate feeling of peace.

No home will have all of these aspects perfectly functioning. The main idea is giving each element thoughtful consideration and trying to incorporate different aspects as you are able. I think that fostering mindfulness about even the most mundane aspects of a home goes a long way toward meeting many of these goals.

I know that a lot of this sounds highly impractical, but I promise that when we get down to the nitty–gritty my meaning will be clearer and it won’t seem like such a tall order. A challenge, to be sure, but not impossible!

These are just some of my beginning thoughts. I want to again encourage people to please add on to my theories or question them or outright reject them! I really would like to open up a dialog about this. Please feel welcome in adding on in the comments section.


5 thoughts on “What is a Healing Home?

  1. Melanie

    I totally agree that in a healing home, the members within must work toward a feeling of peace- we strive for that in our own home. We of course have “off days”- and on those days where someone is grumpy and negative it completely upsets the whole home for the whole day- not much seems to go right.
    We spend a lot of time creating as well- and I think the act of creating, especially something such as sewing or knitting or painting- brings about peace and contentment as well.
    I believe it goes full circle- a healing home is one that inspires creativity, but also a calm creativity helps to create a healing environment.
    My thoughts anyway- as much as I can muster with my 3 little ones behind me creating a clamor!

  2. Anonymous

    I do feel that I have a very safe home right now–

    I’ve been “blessed” to be married to a man with an open mind about architecture, and even with financial challenges, sometimes huge, we have done a lot of the work ourselves and achieved a certain amount of “safety”–

    my home IS my sanctuary–

    my home is 65 years old and was built almost entirely of local materials during WWII–

    we bought it because it hadn’t been “remodelled”, except for a very smelly carpet that was immediately taken out with the help of a crew of friends–

    my husband and I managed to find cork floor at a VERY low price, because a large, local business had ordered much of it and then not purchased it–it was amazing; it was even in a color I liked–

    we did a lot of ceramic tile–we took out old plastic shower stalls that were mildewed and put in green “board”–

    covering it with ceramic tile and using the low-VOC conditioners; there was very little smell–

    I used low-VOC paint (pur) and painted everything–

    I lived in a home with siding, and I found it often moldy; old as this house is, there is very little mold, partly, because it isn’t sided–

    I do keep an eye on things, though–

    I wipe windows in the winter religiously–

    we live in the bitterly cold north, and we DO have a wood stove, but it is a European import with a VERY high EPA rating; when we installed it and told them what the brand was, they just laughed and said, “you’ll never have to worry about emissions with that one”.

    I do NOT build the fires, however–

    we kept the old cabinetry, solid wood–

    and have all hardwood floors–local wood . . .

    I watch moisture; I have a dehumidifier; I have not yet found the need for a room filter–because so far, IF I am home, I am fine–it is when I leave my home that I struggle with MCS–

    of course, I come home and may be ill for several days, but my home is always my safe place.

    I purchase the personal care products for all the family, but an older single adult who lives here and runs all her products past me–

    my curtains are all cotton; I wash them regularly–

    I use all natural laundry products (homemade)

    my two rugs are wool (which I can handle)–

    my furniture is mostly old wood–

    all well off-gassed–

    it has taken a lot of work to make this place healthy for me–

    Thank you for inviting comments–

  3. Susie

    I wish more people understood that safe housing is a key necessity for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I wish governmental social services and the health care system understood it, too! I love how you are looking at both the micro and the macro of a healing home. Great post!

  4. Melody

    melanie- I completely and wholeheartedly agree!

    anonymous- wow! Thank you for taking the time to share all of that. Some very valuable information there! If you come back and see this, I would really love it if you wanted to share a little bit about yourself (only if you feel comfortable doing so, of course) and continue with this dialog.

    susie- I really struggle with this sometimes, the lack of information that is out there. Especially as a mother. It’s one thing to have to fight for my own safety, but having to carve out an entire life on our own, in order to keep our family safe, with no help what-so-ever, it’s just too much sometimes. My children were EXTREMELY ill by the time we moved in here. We went into crushing debt from which we will likely never, ever recover in order to make this happen. Had we not recognized the problem and worked non-stop to find an answer, I really don’t know what would have become of us.

    I wish I had a better way of getting the word out and showing people how incredibly important this topic is.

  5. VardoForTwo

    This is a powerful essay. Yours is a story that gives me such hope. A healing home is the cure for long-lasting recovery from the ills of life as human on Earth. I love your full view of what a home that heals means for you, and agree with all my heart that it means much more than be eco-sensitive. AND it means that awareness of each material and process goes into the building.

    We are building a healing home on wheels to have a safe and loving space to rest, restore and find peace every day, every night. Tje process is deliberate and sometimes a one step forward and two steps backward dance. Knowing “for sure” a material will work isn’t always possible.

    I have linked this post to my blog, and will share it with our readers. It’s so important to let the world know there are those who are building healing homes.
    Thank you so much!

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