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Physiological and Psychological Effects of Forest Therapy on Middle-Aged Males with High-Normal Blood Pressure

1
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National hospital organization Tokyo Medical Center, Higashigaoka 2-5-1, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8902, Japan
2
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
3
Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School, Sendagi 1-1-5, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan
4
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National Center for Child Health and Development, Okura 2-10-1, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan
5
Agematsu Town Office Industry & Tourism Department, Agematsu 159-3, Kiso, Nagano 399-5601, Japan
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Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture 305-8687, Japan
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Nagano Prefectural Kiso Hospital, Kisomachi-fukushima 6613-4, Nagano 397-8555, Japan
8
Le Verseau Inc., 3-19-4 Miyasaka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-0051, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(3), 2532-2542; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120302532
Received: 20 January 2015 / Revised: 7 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 25 February 2015
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest therapy; high-normal blood pressure; adrenaline; cortisol; preventive medicine; Semantic Differential method; Profile of Mood State forest therapy; high-normal blood pressure; adrenaline; cortisol; preventive medicine; Semantic Differential method; Profile of Mood State
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Ochiai, H.; Ikei, H.; Song, C.; Kobayashi, M.; Takamatsu, A.; Miura, T.; Kagawa, T.; Li, Q.; Kumeda, S.; Imai, M.; Miyazaki, Y. Physiological and Psychological Effects of Forest Therapy on Middle-Aged Males with High-Normal Blood Pressure. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 2532-2542.

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