Background: Shinrin-yoku (experiencing the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) has received increasing attention from the perspective of preventive medicine in recent years. Some studies have reported that the forest environment decreases blood pressure. However, little is known about the possibility of anti-hypertensive applications of Shinrin-yoku. This study aimed to evaluate preventive or therapeutic effects of the forest environment on blood pressure.
Methods: We systematically reviewed the medical literature and performed a meta-analysis.Four electronic databases were systematically searched for the period before May 2016 with language restriction of English and Japanese. The review considered all published, randomized, controlled trials, cohort studies, and comparative studies that evaluated the effects of the forest environment on changes in systolic blood pressure. A subsequent meta-analysis was performed.
Results: Twenty trials involving 732 participants were reviewed. Systolic blood pressure of the forest environment was significantly lower than that of the non-forest environment. Additionally, diastolic blood pressure of the forest environment was significantly lower than that of the non-forest environment.
Conclusions: This systematic review shows a significant effect of Shinrin-yoku on reduction of blood pressure.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Forest bathing; Meta-analysis; Pulse rate; Systematic review.