Effects of redecoration of a hospital isolation room with natural materials on stress levels of denizens in cold season

Int J Biometeorol. 2008 May;52(5):331-40. doi: 10.1007/s00484-007-0125-4. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


We investigated the effects of redecoration of a hospital isolation room with natural materials on thermoregulatory, cardiovascular and hormonal parameters of healthy subjects staying in the room. Two isolation rooms with almost bilaterally-symmetrical arrangements were used. One room (RD) was redecorated with wood paneling and Japanese paper, while the other (CN) was unchanged (with concrete walls). Seven healthy male subjects stayed in each room for over 24 h in the cold season. Their rectal temperature (T(re)) and heart rate, and the room temperature (T(a)) and relative humidity were continuously measured. Arterial blood pressures, arterial vascular compliance, thermal sensation and thermal comfort were measured every 4 h except during sleeping. Blood was sampled after the stay in the rooms. In RD, T(a) was significantly higher by about 0.4 degrees C and relative humidity was lower by about 5% than in CN. Diurnal T(re) levels of subjects in RD significantly differed from those in CN, i.e., T(re)s were significantly higher in RD than in CN especially in the evening. In RD, the subjects felt more thermally-comfortable than in CN. Redecoration had minimal effects on cardiovascular parameters. Plasma levels of catecholamines and antidiuretic hormone did not differ, while plasma cortisol level was significantly lower after staying in RD than in CN by nearly 20%. The results indicate that, in the cold season, redecoration with natural materials improves the thermal environment of the room and contributes to maintaining core temperature of denizens at preferable levels. It also seems that redecoration of room could attenuate stress levels of isolated subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Cold Climate
  • Heart Rate
  • Hospital Design and Construction / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Patient Isolation / psychology*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Stress, Physiological / prevention & control*


  • Hydrocortisone