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The Effects of Forest Bathing on Stress Recovery: Evidence from Middle-Aged Females of Taiwan

1
School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2
The Experimental Forest, College of Bioresources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, Nantou 557, Taiwan
3
Department of Leisure Industry and Health Promotion, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei 112, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(7), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070403
Received: 12 May 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics and Human Dimensions)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest; forest therapy program; Profile of Mood States; State Trait Anxiety Inventory-state anxiety; pulse rate; blood pressure; salivary α-amylase forest; forest therapy program; Profile of Mood States; State Trait Anxiety Inventory-state anxiety; pulse rate; blood pressure; salivary α-amylase
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Chen, H.-T.; Yu, C.-P.; Lee, H.-Y. The Effects of Forest Bathing on Stress Recovery: Evidence from Middle-Aged Females of Taiwan. Forests 2018, 9, 403.

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