Wood and Its Impact on Humans and Environment Quality in Health Care Facilities

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 19;16(18):3496. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183496.


The paper presents the application of natural materials, especially wood, which are relevant for human well-being in built environments of health, social, and day care facilities. These properties were tested by a complex methodology in a case study in the wooden waiting room at National Oncology Institute in Bratislava. In this space, experimental tests of physiological responses were further executed on 50 volunteers moving in the waiting room for 20 min. In this article, the EEG (electroencephalograph) (four persons) and emotions from the faces of all our volunteers before entering and after a stay in a wooden waiting room were recorded. Specifically, the ECG (electrocardiograph), heart rate (HR), and respiration activity were measured by using our own designed ECG holter (40 persons), and also blood pressure and cortisol levels were observed. The usage of wooden materials verifies their regenerative and positive impact on the human nervous system, through the appealing aesthetics (color, texture, and structures), high contact comfort, pleasant smell, possibility to regulate air humidity, volatile organic compound emissions (VOC-emissions), and acoustic well-being in the space.

Keywords: environment design; face emotions; hospitals; human physiology; natural materials; wood.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Blood Pressure
  • Built Environment*
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Health*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Male
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis
  • Wood* / chemistry
  • Wood* / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Organic Chemicals
  • Hydrocortisone