Physiological and psychological relaxing effects of visual stimulation with foliage plants in high school students
With lifestyles in modern society becoming increasingly stressful, there is growing interest in the physiological relaxing effects of the natural environment. Particular interest has been paid to the physiological effects of indoor plants, however, no studies have revealed the effects of such visual stimulation on minors. In this study 85 (41 male and 44 female; 16.5±0.9 years; mean±SD) students were exposed, or not as control, to a typical foliage plant, dracaena (Dracaena
deremensis; Lemon Lime), for 3 min. Physiological indices included heart rate variability (HRV) and pulse rate, using an accelerated plethysmography at the fingertip, were collected continuously during the experiments. The results indicated that the high-frequency component (HF), a general index of parasympathetic nervous activity, was significantly higher; the low-frequency component [LF/(LF+HF)], a general index of sympathetic nervous activity, was significantly lower; and the pulse rate was significantly lower. After exposure, or not, the subjects completed a questionnaire as psychological evaluation. A 13-point rating scale was used for following parameters: "comfortable-uncomfortable", "relaxed-awakening", and "natural-artificial". Results of the study showed that subjects felt more comfortable, relaxed and natural after visualizing the dracaena plants. Overall, the physiological and psychological relaxing effects of visual stimulation with foliage plants in high school students is confirmed.
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