Therapeutic effect of forest bathing on human hypertension in the elderly

Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Geriatrics & Geriatrics Institute of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang Hospital, Hangzhou 310013, Zhejiang Province, P.R. China.
Journal of Cardiology (Impact Factor: 2.78). 09/2012; 60(5-6). DOI: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2012.08.003
Source: PubMed


To provide scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of forest bathing as a natural therapy for human hypertension.

Twenty-four elderly patients with essential hypertension were randomly divided into two groups of 12. One group was sent to a broad-leaved evergreen forest to experience a 7-day/7-night trip, and the other was sent to a city area in Hangzhou for control. Blood pressure indicators, cardiovascular disease-related pathological factors including endothelin-1, homocysteine, renin, angiotensinogen, angiotensin II, angiotensin II type 1 receptor, angiotensin II type 2 receptor as well as inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α were detected. Meanwhile, profile of mood states (POMS) evaluation was used to assess the change of mood state of subjects. In addition, the air quality in the two experimental sites was monitored during the 7-day duration, simultaneously.

The baselines of the indicators of the subjects were not significantly different. Little alteration in the detected indicators in the city group was observed after the experiment. While subjects exposed to the forest environment showed a significant reduction in blood pressure in comparison to that of the city group. The values for the bio-indicators in subjects exposed to the forest environment were also lower than those in the urban control group and the baseline levels of themselves. POMS evaluation showed that the scores in the negative subscales were lowered after exposure to the forest environment. Besides, the air quality in the forest environment was much better than that of the urban area evidenced by the quantitative detection of negative ions and PM10 (particulate matter < 10 μm in aerodynamic diameter).

Our results provided direct evidence that forest bathing has therapeutic effects on human hypertension and induces inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system and inflammation, and thus inspiring its preventive efficacy against cardiovascular disorders.

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    • "). Moreover, extended time in a forest decreased inflammatory cytokines implicated in chronic disease by roughly one-half (Mao et al., 2012). Urban walks have no such effect. "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2015; 6:1093. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01093 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "et influer sur la santé des personnes . Les émotions sont a ` relier avec le concept de biophilie . Les effets produits par les plantes sur la santé pourraient être chimiques . Les plantes assainissent l ' air et le dépolluent . C ' est notamment de cette façon ( Park & Mattson , 2008 , 2009 ) que sont expliqués les résultats de certaines études . Mao et al . ( 2012 ) ajoutent une mesure comparative de la qualité de l ' air entre la ville et la campagne . Leur étude montre des effets sur le POMS et la pression artérielle , et ils observent une augmentation des ions négatifs en forêt ( une valeur élevée est signe d ' une meilleure qualité de l ' air ) , une température moindre , un taux d ' humidité"

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    • "The forest experience improved subjective mood state, and resulted in a variety of physiological changes including lowered cortisol levels, reduced sympathetic tone, improved natural killer cell count and activity, lowered pulse rate and blood pressure, and improved heart rate variability [137] [138]. More recent studies, including those from China and Korea, have documented similar improvements in subjective mood and endpoints such as stress hormones, oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and blood pressure [139] [140] [141] [142] [143]. The major limitation of existing shinrin-yoku and forest therapy studies is small sample size. "
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