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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Feb 25;12(3):2532-42. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120302532.

Physiological and psychological effects of forest therapy on middle-aged males with high-normal blood pressure.

Author information

1
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National hospital organization Tokyo Medical Center, Higashigaoka 2-5-1, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8902, Japan. ochiroko@gmail.com.
2
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan. ikei.harumi@gmail.com.
3
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan. crsong1028@gmail.com.
4
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School, Sendagi 1-1-5, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan. mk831111@nms.ac.jp.
5
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National Center for Child Health and Development, Okura 2-10-1, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan. accodr@aol.com.
6
Agematsu Town Office Industry & Tourism Department, Agematsu 159-3, Kiso, Nagano 399-5601, Japan. syoukan@town.agematsu.nagano.jp.
7
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture 305-8687, Japan. kagawa@ffpri.affrc.go.jp.
8
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School, Sendagi 1-1-5, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan. qing-li@nms.ac.jp.
9
Nagano Prefectural Kiso Hospital, Kisomachi-fukushima 6613-4, Nagano 397-8555, Japan. kumeda@titan.ocn.ne.jp.
10
Le Verseau Inc., 3-19-4 Miyasaka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-0051, Japan. leverseau@mvb.biglobe.ne.jp.
11
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan. ymiyazaki@faculty.chiba-u.jp.

Abstract

Time spent walking and relaxing in a forest environment ("forest bathing" or "forest therapy") has well demonstrated anti-stress effects in healthy adults, but benefits for ill or at-risk populations have not been reported. The present study assessed the physiological and psychological effects of forest therapy (relaxation and stress management activity in the forest) on middle-aged males with high-normal blood pressure. Blood pressure and several physiological and psychological indices of stress were measured the day before and approximately 2 h following forest therapy. Both pre- and post-treatment measures were conducted at the same time of day to avoid circadian influences. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), urinary adrenaline, and serum cortisol were all significantly lower than baseline following forest therapy (p<0.05). Subjects reported feeling significantly more "relaxed" and "natural" according to the Semantic Differential (SD) method. Profile of Mood State (POMS) negative mood subscale scores for "tension-anxiety," "confusion," and "anger-hostility," as well as the Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) score were significantly lower following forest therapy. These results highlight that forest is a promising treatment strategy to reduce blood pressure into the optimal range and possibly prevent progression to clinical hypertension in middle-aged males with high-normal blood pressure.

PMID:
25809507
PMCID:
PMC4377916
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph120302532
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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