Healing, convalescence, and silence have always had a strong relationship with each other.
For instance, it’s a well-known fact that one is expected to be quiet around, near, or in a hospital. As it is, it’s generally thought that an atmosphere of calm will help the patients rest and sleep better and subsequently recover more quickly. Paradoxically, silence and keeping as quiet as possible is of even more importance in hospitals, because they are usually very busy and noisy places.
But even at home, when someone is ill, recovering, or tired, we would urge the rest of the family members to be quiet so that the affected person can rest and sleep as much as possible to regain their strength.
In fact, research done on the effects of silence (or a calm and peaceful environment) on our health has shown that silence can speed up convalescence (recovery and rehabilitation after an illness or medical treatment), decrease stress, improve mood, release tensions in the body, reduce insomnia and fatigue, and lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and cortisol levels.
The idea of Sanatoria (notably popular at the end of the 19th and early 20th century) was based on the same requisite of peace and quiet, just as we find in hospitals today. These treatment centers were typically put in place to address a range of ailments, or used as a place to recover from an illness, depression, burnout, or medical treatment.
As a rule, Sanatoria were mostly situated in natural, remote, and peaceful environments in order to benefit from favorable Nature scenery, fresh air, silence and calm, and so on.
Today, Sanatoria still exist but are usually called Health Resort, Destination Spa, Medical Spa, or Recovery and Rehabilitation Center, being operated with or without medical services. Compared to Sanatoria they have generally become less “medical,” and are often also frequented by relatively healthy people to rest and recover.
But perhaps the best known “application” of silence in relation to healing is that of spending some days in the countryside or somewhere else in Nature to come to rest and to recuperate from our hectic lifestyles or from stressful events. This is of course a rather “soft intervention” compared to a hospital or Medical Spa, but nonetheless a widespread custom.
Not that the countryside or natural environments are always very silent, in fact, there are enough “natural noises,” but the sounds of Nature are of another quality, ones that we relish, and generally not experience as disturbing; by contrast, we usually find the “noises of Nature” rather peaceful and calming.