Health Benefits of Forest Therapy: Comparison of Guided Modes
The biophilia hypothesis is mentioned “boldly asserts the existence of a biologically based inherent human need to affiliate with life and lifelike processes”., human has innate love for nature. Natural resources of mass development has brought the human civilization that results in an ecological crisis. The pressure of survival competition, human has gradually lost their connection with nature, that has disregarded to nature protection. This has affected public health and quality of life, cause a variety of physical and mental illnesses. Therefore, how to promote human connect with nature will be an important direction to protect the environment and maintain human well-being. Popular alternative therapy is called“forest therapy” could improve human health and have the potential to awaken human connection with nature. The study focuses on the health benefits of guided modes with forest therapy.
The research site chose in Xitou Nature Education Area, and the experiment time was from July to August. The experimental design adopted three-group pretest and posttest, two explanation guidance methods (self-guided and guided) and a group of control (walking type). The research recruited 99 subjects (age:21-86), randomly assigned to three groups. The measurements included physiological responses (heart rate, blood pressure, autonomic nerve balance, and salivary alpha-amylase), psychological indices (POMS and INS), and the posttest of activity experience assessment (mindfulness, satisfaction and willingness to revisit). The statistical method is the ANOVA, and the research hypothesis is verified with a significant level of 0.05, and the results are presented in terms of mean, standard deviation and amount of change. The background information of the subjects collected the habits and nature relatedness background dara.
The results of the study show that the three modes of forest therapy activities can bring relaxation, joy, and closeness to nature. The explanation of the guided activities, in addition to showing the health benefits of forest therapy, the INS has a better performance than the walk type activities. Moreover, the psychological value of the guided is more comprehensive than the self-guided. Also in the mindfulness, satisfaction, and willingness to revisit, the guided has brought the people a deep sense of natural experience and made the people more aware and concerned about the forest environment.
This results of study verify that the guiding method has the potential to enhance the benefits of forest therapy and the connection between human and nature. In the future, the application about guiding theory to natural connection should be explored, and the research data will be serve as a reference for the forest therapy of management.