<b/> The aim of the current study was to test the hypothesis that forest bathing would be beneficial for elderly patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) as an adjunctive therapy. Two groups of participants with CHF were simultaneously sent to the forest or an urban control area for a four-day trip, respectively. Subjects exposed to the forest site showed a significant reduction of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in comparison to that of the city group and their own baseline levels. The values for the cardiovascular disease related pathological factors, including endothelin-1 (ET-1), and constituents of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), including renin, angiotensinogen (AGT), angiotensin II (ANGII), and ANGII receptor type 1 or 2 (AT1 or AT2) in subjects exposed to the forest environment were lower than those in the urban control group. Obviously, a decreased level of inflammatory cytokines and improved antioxidant function was observed in the forest group rather than in the city group. The assessment of the profile of mood states (POMS) indicated that the negative emotional mood state was alleviated after forest bathing. As anticipated, a better air quality in the forest site was observed according to the detection of PM2.5 (particulate matter <2.5 μm) and negative ions. These results provided direct evidence that forest bathing has a beneficial effect on CHF patients, and thus may pave the way for potential development of forest bathing as an effective adjunctive therapy on cardiovascular disorders.
Keywords: PM2.5; chronic heart failure; forest bathing; inflammation.