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Planting improves heart rate, stress levels of mentally challenged adults
Date:12/12/2011

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREAParticipation in horticultural activities can improve confidence and social skills, cultivate a positive attitude, and rejuvenate the mind and body. Many studies have emphasized the effects of horticultural activities in relation to physical and psychological rehabilitation, but few have considered the influence of these types of activities on mentally challenged people's autonomic nervous system (ANS) and on the stress hormone cortisol. A new study examined how activities such as pressing flowers, planting, creating flower arrangements, and making topiaries affect stress relief for patients who are mentally challenged.

In the first experiment of the study, the heart rate variation (HRV) was measured in 30 mentally challenged people at a rehabilitation center in Daegu, South Korea. Researchers in the second experiment measured the cortisol levels of 20 mentally challenged people from a residential home in Yeongcheon, South Korea. Min-Jung Lee from the Department of Horticultural Therapy at the Catholic University of Daegu (South Korea) published the results of both experiments in a report in HortTechnology.

For the first experiment, subjects participated in four indoor horticultural activities: a pressed flower activity, flower planting, flower arranging, and topiary crafting. Participants' heart rate variation was measured five minutes before and five minutes after each horticultural activity was performed. The pressed flower group and the planting group showed a significant improvement in the standard deviation of the normalnormal (SDNN) interval heart rate variation measurements. The planting group's SDNN and low frequency (LF) significantly improved; a significant improvement in total power (TP) and high frequency was also observed. The flower arrangement group displayed a significant difference in LF, while the topiary group showed a significant difference in TP.

The second experiment used the same four
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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