A Survey of Forest Bathing Using EEG Measurement for New Tourism after COVID-19

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Yuko HiramatsuAtsushi ItoAkira SasakiRochaporn Chansawang

Abstract: 13 million hectares of forest were lost from 2000 to 2010 (ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization) Agricultural development is one of the reasons for this deforestation. The benefits of agricultural developments are significant for residents. On the other hands, If forest protection is important for the world, what brings them better benefits than agricultural developments? It is necessary not to undermine the interests of residents for the cause of other regions, but also to benefit from participating, and to actively embark on forest conservation in order to nurture forests.Considering the global issue of forest conservation, we deal with tourism in nature, especially forest bathing in this paper. Tourists not only give money for local people, but also gives people the perception that forests are not a hindrance to cultivation, but rather meaningful resources for themselves. Research in Japan has been studying the stress reduction effects of forest bathing in the last 10 years. There are physical declines in stress hormones such as blood pressure, pulse and salivary cortisol, promotion of parasympathetic nerve activity, and decreased sympathetic nerve activity even in forest bathing for about 20 minutes (Koyama, 2009). There is also research (Takeda, 2009) that analyzed the atmosphere of forests and measured phytoncide components such as terpenes emanated from trees. It told that forest bathing is effective in reducing physical and mental parts. However, these are often influenced by weather and personal factors of subjects (Alpine,2012). In addition, since the measurement method is complicated for the physiological part, it has not reached the investigation of the scale which can be general-purpose. Research originated in Japan on forest bathing is progressing overseas aiming at the elimination of Over tourism now. We had experiments in Oku-Nikko, the Natural Park in Japan on September and November 2021. We tried to measure effects of forest bathing by performing the degrees of relaxation using EEG Measurement:αwaves increased in certain areas, and multiple subjective evaluations. The participants walked in the forest wearing bandana with simple electroencephalography on the experiments. Though temperatures and deciduous conditions are different in September and in November, effects of forest bathing were observed in both experiments. It is about 26,27℃ in the forest of Oku-Nikko on September. On the other hands, we had the experiment not as high as 10℃ on November. It seems that the situations are not so suitable for experiments in the forest bathing because of the large temperature gap. However, forest bathing has become a hot topic in foreign countries and the compositions of forests varies enclosing temperature are different among those countries. Therefore, considering such different phases is useful for our research, we will lead to the versatility of forest bathing. Participants walked some courses on September. One group walked the same 30-minute course at the forest along a fall in September (n=3) and November (n=10). According to the results of Positive and Negative Affect Schedule(PANAS)scales of 13 participants (yes/no answer), total numbers of “yes” were increased from18 at the start point to 34 after walking. The answer “active” increased from3to 11after the walking in the forest (60 minutes walking). All participants were 20s. They answered that they liked to walk in the nature. However, 5 of them answered the average exercise time per week is less than an hour and 3 participants answered 1 hour or less than 3 hours, 4 participants answered 3 hours or less than 5 hours and only 1 participant answered he exercises 5 hours or less than 10 hours per week. On the other hands, negative items decreased from 14 to 6 after walking in the forest. In addition, αwave came out loudly when 3 participants stopped to see a waterfall which was flowing sideways of the forest in September. According to our experiments, there is a possibility that forest bathing makes people feel better regardless of temperature. Participants became positive after walking in the forest. We have to proceed to analyze the date for subjective evaluation and will examine the EEG data on November, too.We started to research and will continue to use EEG measurement and will have subjective evaluation to enhance evidence for forest bathing enclosing other countries. The forests in Thailand are so different from Japanese ones. Thailand have had too many tourists in several famous cities before COVID-19. There are great forests in Thailand. We will cooperate and will find the common effects of forest bathing. In addition, informing tourists themselves of the effects of forest bathing on the spot using incorporating the brain wave measurement function into the app in the future, it will be useful for new tourism after COVID-19.

Keywords: Forest Bathing, New Tourism, EEG Measurement, PANAS Scale

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001803

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