Wearable technologies for assessing the effects of nature on physiological states
Forest bathing (FB) has been shown to have quantifiable positive effects on human physical and mental health, but few studies have employed non-invasive wearable technolo- gies to monitor autonomic nervous system signals. This study investigated the impacts of a 90-minute Nature Break activity on the physiological response of 10 individuals and the psychological response of 38 (age=43.55± 11.61 years) individuals. Autonomic nervous system response was assessed through continuous measurement of electrodermal activity (EDA), fingertip temperature, and blood volume pulse (BVP) using a wearable fingertip sensor. Psychological distress was assessed using the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Our results showed a decrease in the negative dimensions of POMS and an increase in the positive (vigor) dimension following Nature Break. Moderate evidence for a difference pre-forest and post-forest was found for the mean of the standard deviation of EDA slopes (BF10 = 4.462). Significant differences across stops was found for the mean of the standard deviation of EDA slopes(p<0.05), mean of the me- dian skin temperatures(p<0.05), and average HR (p<0.001), but not for the average HRV features or the slopes of the HR. Mean HR was found to decrease throughout Nature Break. Future research should further investigate the use of EDA and skin temperature as measures of ANS activity in order to develop a better understanding of the changes in these signals in the FB context.