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Physiological Benefits of Viewing Nature: A Systematic Review of Indoor Experiments

1
Center for Environment, Health, and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
2
Department of Forest Resources, Kongju National University, Yesan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do 32439, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4739; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234739
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 21 November 2019 / Accepted: 22 November 2019 / Published: 27 November 2019
Contact with nature has been proposed as a solution to achieve physiological relaxation and stress recovery, and a number of scientific verification outcomes have been shown. Compared with studies of the other senses, studies investigating the visual effects of nature have been at the forefront of this research field. A variety of physiological indicators adopted for use in indoor experiments have shown the benefits of viewing nature. In this systematic review, we examined current peer-reviewed articles regarding the physiological effects of visual stimulation from elements or representations of nature in an indoor setting. The articles were analyzed for their stimulation method, physiological measures applied, groups of participants, and outcomes. Thirty-seven articles presenting evidence of the physiological effects of viewing nature were selected. The majority of the studies that used display stimuli, such as photos, 3D images, virtual reality, and videos of natural landscapes, confirmed that viewing natural scenery led to more relaxed body responses than viewing the control. Studies that used real nature stimuli reported that visual contact with flowers, green plants, and wooden materials had positive effects on cerebral and autonomic nervous activities compared with the control. Accumulation of scientific evidence of the physiological relaxation associated with viewing elements of nature would be useful for preventive medicine, specifically nature therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: nature therapy; visual effect of nature; natural environments; physiological relaxation; stress recovery; cerebral activity; autonomic nervous activity; heart rate variability; blood pressure; preventive medicine nature therapy; visual effect of nature; natural environments; physiological relaxation; stress recovery; cerebral activity; autonomic nervous activity; heart rate variability; blood pressure; preventive medicine
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Jo, H.; Song, C.; Miyazaki, Y. Physiological Benefits of Viewing Nature: A Systematic Review of Indoor Experiments. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4739.

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