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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14091087

Comparison of Physiological and Psychological Relaxation Using Measurements of Heart Rate Variability, Prefrontal Cortex Activity, and Subjective Indexes after Completing Tasks with and without Foliage Plants

1
Department of Environmental Health Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
2
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
3
Department of Horticultural Therapy, Graduate School of Agricultural and Animal Science, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evidence-Based Nature Therapy: Advances in Physiological Evaluation)
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to compare physiological and psychological relaxation by assessing heart rate variability (HRV), prefrontal cortex activity, and subjective indexes while subjects performed a task with and without foliage plants. In a crossover experimental design, 24 university students performed a task transferring pots with and without a foliage plant for 3 min. HRV and oxyhemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentration in the prefrontal cortex were continuously measured. Immediately thereafter, subjective evaluation of emotions was performed using a modified semantic differential (SD) method and a profile of mood state questionnaire (POMS). Results showed that the natural logarithmic (ln) ratio of low frequency/high frequency, as an estimate of sympathetic nerve activity, was significantly lower while performing the task with foliage plants for the average 3 min measurement interval. Oxy-Hb concentration in the left prefrontal cortex showed a tendency to decrease in the 2–3 min interval in the task with foliage plants compared to the task without plants. Moreover, significant psychological relaxation according to POMS score and SD was demonstrated when the task involved foliage plants. In conclusion, the task involving foliage plants led to more physiological and psychological relaxation compared with the task without foliage plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: brain activity; horticultural therapy; mood state questionnaire; modified semantic differential method; near-infrared spectroscopy; socio-horticulture brain activity; horticultural therapy; mood state questionnaire; modified semantic differential method; near-infrared spectroscopy; socio-horticulture
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Park, S.-A.; Song, C.; Oh, Y.-A.; Miyazaki, Y.; Son, K.-C. Comparison of Physiological and Psychological Relaxation Using Measurements of Heart Rate Variability, Prefrontal Cortex Activity, and Subjective Indexes after Completing Tasks with and without Foliage Plants. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1087.

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