Forests and Human Health June-20-2012

Selected Publications


Li Q (editor) (2012) Forest Medicine, Series of Public Health in the 21st Century. Ebook, ISBN 978-1-614-982-4

Forest medicine is a new interdisciplinary science, belonging to the categories of alternative medicine, environmental medicine and preventive medicine. This book encompasses the effects of forest environments on human health and presents up-to-date findings in forest medicine to show the beneficial effects of forest environments on human health.

Tenngart Ivarsson C and Grahn P (2012) Differently designed parts of a garden support different types of recreational walks. Landscape Research 19: on-line.

By participatory observation the researchers observed when and where patients chose to walk while they were undergoing a treatment program for stress related diseases in a healing garden. The aim was to deepen the knowledge on environment–behavior relations needed when designing gardens, parks, public open spaces and especially therapeutic environments. The purpose was to explore how patients use and interact with this therapeutic setting by looking at behavior and location. This can be viewed as a kind of qualitative evaluation of the design of the garden. Depending on people's needs and intentions, two main types of recreational walks (introvert and extrovert walks) were recognized, each with three sub-groups. These walks took place in different parts of the garden having different characteristics, confirming the need for knowledge on the relation between the design of green spaces and the activities this stimulates.

Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Ohira T, Kagawa T and Miyazaki Y (2011) Effect of forest bathing on physiological and psychological responses in young Japanese male subjects. Public Health 125(2):93-100.

This study aims to provide scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of forest bathing as a natural therapy by investigating its physiological benefits using biological indicators in outdoor settings. A very clear tendency towards positive physiological and psychological outcomes in forests was observed, although the sample size was rather small. The authors concluded that forest bathing had positive effects on physical and mental health, indicating that it can be effective for health promotion.

Hansen-Ketchum P and Halpenny EA (2011) Engaging with nature to promote health: bridging research silos to examine the evidence. Health Promotion International 26: 100-108

Connecting with nature through community walking trails, gardens, parks or other initiatives can be health-promoting for individuals, families, communities and shared natural ecosystems. Being in and caring for nature can be health promoting for individuals, families, communities, ecosystems and the planet. In this paper, the authors use a conceptual model for nature-based health promotion and a socio-ecological model of health promotion to guide the scope, organization and critique of relevant literature on nature-based health promotion in several fields and generate recommendations for practice, policy and research. They conclude that participatory community-based research is needed to build local knowledge and create systemic change in practice and policy to support healthy living for people and the planet.

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Comments: Lu-Min Vaario,