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Physiological and Psychological Effects of Viewing Forests on Young Women

1
Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, 6-2-1 Kashiwa-no-ha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
2
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba 305-8687, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080635
Received: 14 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 26 July 2019 / Published: 27 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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PDF [2347 KB, uploaded 27 July 2019]
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Abstract

Research Highlights: This study demonstrated that viewing forest landscapes induced physical and mental health benefits on young women. Background and Objectives: The health-promoting effects of spending time in forests have received increasing attention; however, there is a lack of evidence-based research investigating the effects of spending time in forests on women. This study aimed to evaluate the physiological and psychological effects of viewing forest landscapes on young women. Materials and Methods: The experiments were conducted in six forests and six city areas and included 65 women (mean age, 21.0 ± 1.3 years). Participants viewed a forest and a city area for 15 min, during which their heart rate variability and heart rate were measured continuously. Blood pressure and pulse rate were measured before and after the viewing. After the viewing, participants’ psychological responses were assessed using the modified semantic differential method, Profile of Mood States (POMS), and the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Results: Compared with viewing city areas, viewing forest landscapes was associated with significantly higher parasympathetic nervous activity and lower sympathetic nervous activity and heart rate. Moreover, scores of the comfortable, relaxed, and natural parameters and vigor subscales of POMS were significantly higher with forest viewing. The scores of negative feelings, such as tension–anxiety, depression–dejection, anger–hostility, fatigue, and confusion, were significantly lower, as were scores for the total mood disturbance observed using POMS and the anxiety dimension observed using STAI. Conclusions: Viewing forest landscapes resulted in physiological and psychological relaxations in young women. View Full-Text
Keywords: shinrin-yoku; forest therapy; females; heart rate variability; blood pressure; pulse rate; semantic differential method; Profile of Mood State; State–Trait Anxiety Inventory; preventive medicine shinrin-yoku; forest therapy; females; heart rate variability; blood pressure; pulse rate; semantic differential method; Profile of Mood State; State–Trait Anxiety Inventory; preventive medicine
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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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Song, C.; Ikei, H.; Kagawa, T.; Miyazaki, Y. Physiological and Psychological Effects of Viewing Forests on Young Women. Forests 2019, 10, 635.

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