The Trends on the Research of Forest Bathing in Japan,Korea and in the World
The physiological effects of
(taking in the forestatmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from ﬁeld experimentsin 24 forests across Japan
Bum Jin Park
Received: 18 July 2008/Accepted: 6 April 2009/Published online: 2 May 2009
The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2009
This paper reviews previous research on thephysiological effects of
(taking in the forestatmosphere orforest bathing),andpresentsnewresultsfromﬁeld experiments conducted in 24 forests across Japan. Theterm
was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982, and can bedeﬁned asmakingcontact with and taking inthe atmosphereof the forest. In order to clarify the physiological effects of
, we conducted ﬁeld experiments in 24 forestsacrossJapan.Ineachexperiment,12subjects(280total;ages21.7
1.5 year) walked in and viewed a forest or city area.Ontheﬁrstday,sixsubjectsweresenttoaforestarea,andtheothers to a city area. On the second day, each group was sentto the other area as a cross-check. Salivary cortisol, bloodpressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability were used asindices. These indices were measured in the morning at theaccommodation facility before breakfast and also bothbefore and after the walking (for 16
5 min) and viewing(for 14
2 min). The R–R interval was also measuredduring the walking and viewing periods. The results showthat forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greaterparasympatheticnerveactivity,andlowersympatheticnerveactivity than do city environments. These results will con-tribute to the development of a research ﬁeld dedicated toforest medicine, which may be used as a strategy for pre-ventive medicine.
Therapeutic effects of forest
The growing interest in environmental stress has beenaccompanied by a rapid accumulation of evidence indi-cating that environment can elicit substantial stress inpeople living in urban environments . Furthermore, it isbroadly conceived that the natural environment canenhance human health . There have been several ques-tionnaire studies on the psychological effects of forestenvironments. A previous study found an enhancementof positive emotions among subjects who were shownpictures of natural environments [3–6]. Moreover, other
studies have also found that forest environments improvethe psychological wellbeing of people [7–12].
(taking in the forest atmosphereor forest bathing) was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982. It can bedeﬁned as making contact with and taking in the atmo-sphere of the forest: a process intended to improve anindividual’s state of mental and physical relaxation .
is considered to be the most widespreadactivity associated with forest and human health.Nowadays, there is considerable interest in stress controland relaxation. Further, the ﬁeld of medical science hasalways favored evidence-based medicine (EBM); this
B. J. Park (
Y. MiyazakiCenter for Environment, Health and Field Sciences,Chiba University, Kashiwa-no-ha 6-2-1,Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0882, Japane-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgY. Tsunetsugu
T. KagawaForestry and Forest Products Research Institute,1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, JapanT. KasetaniChiba Prefectural Agriculture and ForestryResearch Center Forestry Research Institute,1887-1 Haniya, Sammu, Chiba 289-1223, Japan
Environ Health Prev Med (2010) 15:18–26DOI 10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9