L’forest air decreases anxiety. The news is contained in an experimental research conducted by the CNR Institute for Bioeconomy and the Italian Alpine Club. The study is published in the scientific journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Aforest air decreases anxiety: the role of essential oils

The credit goes to the monoterpenes, components of essential oils emitted by plants, abundant in forests, capable of reducing the symptoms of anxiety. The researchers conducted the study in 39 Italian sites between mountains, hills and urban parks. Monoterpenes are fragrant components of essential oils emitted by plants. The working group isolated the specific effect on the significant reduction of anxiety symptoms. The most impacting monoterpene is l’a-pinene. Already previous studies had shown that some essential oils were important in reducing anxiety. Someone searches they had highlighted the importance of spending time outdoors.

The most effective is α-pinene

“The results demonstrate that, beyond a given concentration threshold of total monoterpenes or even del
only α-pinene, anxiety symptoms decreased regardless of all other parameters”. Francesco Meneguzzo he is a researcher at the Cnr-Ibe and a member of the central scientific committee of the Cai. “Monoterpenes are much more abundant in remote forests than in urban parks. A next step will be to map and predict relative concentrations.”

Aforest air decreases anxiety: the therapeutic effect

The researchers enrolled hundreds of participants involved in standardized therapy sessions, conducted at sites across Italy. Experts have thus demonstrated that, under certain conditions, the forest air is truly therapeutic.

The role of forest therapy

“We have applied an advanced statistical method used in clinical research, which has made it possible to
create perfectly matched intervention and control groups. The results allow us today to have objective criteria for identifying and qualifying Forest Therapy stations capable of allowing clinical-level performance”. David Donelli works at the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Parma and the Cardiology Division of the Parma University Hospital. “The connection between states of anxiety and cardiovascular risk is now consolidated. The results obtained assume an important value also in the pathophysiological field”.

The study continues the line of research undertaken in 2019 relating to the distribution of essential oils emitted by plants. There are numerous scientific publications published in two volumes on Forest Therapy, published by the Cnr.

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