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.
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