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J Physiol Anthropol. 2013 Oct 10;32:15. doi: 10.1186/1880-6805-32-15.

Physiological relaxation induced by horticultural activity: transplanting work using flowering plants.

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  • 1Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa, Japan.



Despite increasing attention and a growing volume of research data, little physiological evidence is available on the benefits of horticultural activity and the different effects on individuals. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the physiological effects of horticultural activity and to examine how differences in personality alter these effects.


The effects of transplanting real flowers (horticultural activity) and handling artificial flowers (control activity) on human physiological activity were compared. On the first day, eight participants engaged in horticultural activity and another eight in the control activity. On the second day, participants switched roles. Participants' physiological conditions during each activity were assessed by measuring the heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV). Psychological responses, which were measured using a semantic differential rating scale, showed that the horticultural activity promoted comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings, compared to the control activity. Analysis of physiological responses using two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that sympathetic nervous activity significantly decreased in the late time period (11 to 15 minutes) of horticultural activity only in the type A group.


This study supports the fact that the horticultural activity can enhance psychological and physiological relaxation effects, although these physiological effects can differ among individuals with different personalities.

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