Previous literature highlights the effects of forests on reviving psychological and physiological health. Given that middle-aged women are vulnerable to stress due to the transition in their lives, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of forest bathing on their stress recovery using a field experiment design. This study examined both psychological and physiological responses after a forest therapy program among a middle-aged female group. Sixteen middle-aged (46.88 ± 7.83 years) women were recruited for a two-day (one-night) forest therapy program in the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area (Nantou, Taiwan). Psychological indices were measured by Profile of Mood States (POMS) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Physiological indicators included pulse rate, systolic or diastolic blood pressure, and salivary α-amylase. Both psychological and physiological measurements were collected before and after the program. The results showed that negative mood states (i.e., confusion, fatigue, anger-hostility, and tension) and anxiety levels were significantly reduced after visiting forests. In contrast, positive mood state (vigor) was improved after the program. Regarding the physiological responses, a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure response was found after the program. In sum, the two-day forest therapy program benefited to mental health and systolic blood pressure among the middle-aged female group.
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