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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

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Table 1 Overview of research on wooden material therapy

From: Physiological effects of wood on humans: a review

Year Authors Sense Physiological indices Summary Stimulation/control (stimulation time) Participants Article type Ref Nos.
2016 Ikei et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Decrease in heart rate
*Comparison with control
α-Pinene/air (90 s) Female univ. students n = 13 Short communication [46]
2016 Song et al. Olfaction Immune activity (Ref No. [37]) Increase in natural killer cell activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cypress wood oil (3 nights) Adult male n = 12 Review [5]
Brain activity (Ref No. [54]) Decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the right prefrontal cortex
*Comparison with control
Japanese cypress leaf oil/air (90 s) Female univ. students n = 13
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [54]) Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity
*Comparison with control
Brain activity (Ref No. [38]) Calming effect on the prefrontal cortex activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cedar chips (90 s)
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [38]) Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [39]) Performed arithmetic tasks
Salivary chromogranin A
Increase: cedar wall panels
No change: no cedar wall panels
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cedar interior wall panels/no Japanese cedar interior wall panels (45 min) Male univ. students n = 16
Brain activity (Ref No. [55]) After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in alpha band power
Increase in theta band power
*Comparison with control
Siberian fir leaf oil/air (40 min) Male univ. students n = 9
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [55]) After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in pulse rate
*Comparison with control
Brain activity (Ref No. [41]) Increase in the amplitude of the early and late CNV components
*Comparison with control
Hiba oil/air (30 min) Females of twenties n = 16
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [38]) Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
α-Pinene and limonene (90 s)
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [45]) Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Decrease in heart rate
*Comparison with control
d-Limonene/air
Brain activity (Ref No. [44]) Calming effect on the left and right prefrontal cortices
*Comparison with control
Japanese cypress chips made by air drying/Japanese cypress chips made by high-temperature drying Female univ. students n = 19
Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [6264]) Plus rate increase: 45% wood; decrease: 30% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 30%
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30 and 45% wood) (90 s)
   Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [61]) Systolic blood pressure
Evaluated the Japanese wall panels “like” group: decrease “dislike” group: no change
Evaluated the white steel wall panels
“Dislike” group: increase
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Full-sized Japanese cypress wall panels/white steel wall panels (90 s) Male univ. students n = 14   
Taction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [74]) Systolic blood pressure and pulse rate
Small fluctuation: Japanese cypress and cedar
Large fluctuation: stainless steel
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, and stainless steel board
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [75]) Systolic blood pressure
Increase: aluminum, acrylic plastic, and cold acrylic plastic board
No change: worm aluminum, cedar, cypress, and oak board
Decrease: cold oak board
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, oak, acrylic plastic, and aluminum (cooling, room temperature, and warming)
2015 Ikei et al. Olfaction Brain activity Decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the right and left prefrontal cortex (measured using TRS)
*Comparison with control
Japanese cypress chips made by air drying/high-temperature drying (90 s) Female univ. students n = 19 Short communication [44]
2015 Ikei et al. Olfaction Brain activity Decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the right prefrontal cortex (measured using TRS)
*Comparison with control
Japanese cypress leaf oil/air (90 s) Female univ. students n = 13 Original article [54]
Autonomic nervous activity Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
*Comparison with control
2015 Miyazaki et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [38]) Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
α-Pinene and limonene (90 s) Review (in Japanese with English abstract) [60]
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [45]) Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Decrease in heart rate
*Comparison with control
d-Limonene/air
Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [6264]) Plus rate
increase: 45% wood; decrease: 30% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 30% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30 and 45% wood)
Taction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [74]) Systolic blood pressure and pulse rate
Small fluctuation: Japanese cypress and cedar
Large fluctuation: stainless steel
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, and stainless steel board   
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [75]) Blood pressure
Increase: warmed aluminum
No change: cold cypress, cedar, and oak
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cold oak, Japanese cedar, Japanese cypress, and warmed aluminum
2015 Burnard and Kutnar Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [62]) Decrease in pulse rate
*Comparison with designed wooden room
Standard wooden room/designed wooden room (90 s) Review [34]
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [61]) Systolic blood pressure
Evaluated the Japanese wall panels
“Like” group: decrease
“Dislike” group: no change
Evaluated the white steel wall panels
“Dislike” group: increase
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Full-sized Japanese cypress wall panels/white steel wall panels (90 s)
Brain activity (Ref No. [64]) Total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: 0 and 90% wood
No change: 45% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (0, 45, and 90% wood) (90 s)
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [64]) Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood
No change: 0 and 90% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
No change: 0 and 45% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 0, 45, and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2014 Joung et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Decrease in heart rate
*Comparison with control
d-Limonene/air (90 s) Female univ. students n = 13 Original article [45]
2014 Matsubara and Kawai Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Performed arithmetic tasks (U-K test)
Salivary chromogranin A
Increase: cedar wall panels
No change: no cedar wall panels
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cedar interior wall panels/no Japanese cedar interior wall panels (45 min) Male univ. students n = 16 Original article [39]
2012 Hori et al. Inhalation (lower airway) Brain activity Increase in rCBF in the right and left hippocampus (measured using SPET)
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol (10 min) Totally laryngectomized male participants n = 11 Short communication [53]
2012 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [6264]) Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood; decrease: 30% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 30 and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30, 45, and 90% wood) Book [38]
Olfaction Brain activity Decrease in Total-Hb concentration in the right and left prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cedar chips (90 s)
Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Brain activity (Ref No. [41]) Increase in the amplitude of the early and late CNV components
*Comparison with control
Hiba oil/air
    Brain activity Oxy-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: “strong” smell of α-pinene
Decrease: “slight” smell of α-Pinene
Comparison with pre-stimulation
α-Pinene (“slight” and “strong” smell) (90 s)
    Autonomic nervous activity Plus rate
Increase: “strong” smell of α-pinene
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: “slight” smell of α-pinene
Comparison with pre-stimulation
    Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Limonene (90 s)
    Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No.[ 49]) Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity
*Comparison with control
Cedrol/air
   Inhalation (lower airway) Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [52]) Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol
2011 Miyazaki et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [62, 63]) Decrease in pulse rate
Decrease in diastolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30% wood) Review (in Japanese with English abstract) [66]
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [61]) Systolic blood pressure
Evaluated the Japanese wall panels
“Like” group: decrease
“Dislike” group: no change
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Full-sized Japanese cypress wall panels/white steel wall panels
2011 Matsubara et al. Olfaction Brain activity After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in alpha band power
Increase in theta band power
*Comparison with control
Siberian fir leaf oil/air (40 min) Male univ. students n = 9 Original article [55]
Autonomic nervous activity After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in pulse rate
*Comparison with control
2011 Matsubara et al. Olfaction Brain activity After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Increase in theta band power:low and high conc.
*Comparison with control
(-)-Bornyl acetate (low and high concentrations)/air (40 min) Male univ. students n = 9 Original article [56]
Autonomic nervous activity During performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in heart rate: high conc.
*Comparison with control
After performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Decrease in heart rate: low and high conc.
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity: low and high conc.
Comparison with task period 30 min
2011 Matsubara et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity During performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Increase in heart rate: low and high conc.
*Comparison with control
Bay tree leaf oil (low and high concentrations)/air (45 min) Male univ. students n = 9 Original article [57]
Other indices During performance of a sustained task on a VDT
Increase in rate of true hits: low conc.
*Comparison with control
2011 Kimura et al. Vision and olfaction (complex) Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in salivary amylase activity: wooden room (coverage 20.6%)
*Comparison with control
Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure: wooden rooms (20.6, 42.8, and 68.0%)
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual-size model Hiba wooden rooms (coverage 20.6, 42.8, and 68.0%)/no Hiba wood room (0.0%) (180 s) Univ. students n = 14 (male n = 7, female n = 7) Original article (in Japanese with English abstract) [65]
2010 Tsunetsugu et al. Olfaction Brain activity Decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Decrease in total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese mountain cherry wood chips (2 min) Males of twenties n = 20 Original article (in Japanese with English abstract) [42]
Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in pulse rate
Decrease in salivary amylase activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2010 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [6264]) Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood; decrease: 30% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 30 and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30, 45, and 90% wood) Review [35]
Olfaction Brain activity (Ref No. [41]) Increase in the amplitude of the early and late CNV components
*Comparison with control
Hiba oil/air
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [21]) Decrease in systolic blood pressure
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Taiwan cypress wood oil
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [49]) Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity
*Comparison with control
Cedrol/air
Inhalation Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [52]) Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol
Taction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [75]) Blood pressure
increase: warmed aluminum
No change: cold oak
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cold oak and warmed aluminum
2010 Nyrud and Bringslimark Taction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [75]) Systolic blood pressure
Increase: aluminum, acrylic plastic, and cold acrylic plastic board
No change: cedar, cypress, and oak board
Decrease: cold oak board
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, oak, acrylic plastic, and aluminum (cool, room temperature, and warm) Review [68]
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [74]) Systolic blood pressure and pulse rate
Small fluctuation: Japanese cypress and cedar
Large fluctuation: stainless steel and denim
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, stainless steel board, and denim
Vision Brain activity (Ref No. [64]) Total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: 0 and 90% wood
No change: 45% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (0, 45, and 90% wood)
    Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [64]) Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood
No change: 0 and 90% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
No change: 0 and 45% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 0, 45, and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
     
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [61]) Systolic blood pressure
Evaluated the Japanese wall panels
“Like” group: decrease
“Dislike” group: no change
Evaluated the white steel wall panels
“Dislike” group: increase
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Full-sized Japanese cypress wall panels/white steel wall panels
Brain activity (Ref No. [63]) Total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: standard and designed room
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Standard and designed wooden room
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [63]) Pulse rate
Decrease: standard room
Increase: designed room
Diastolic blood pressure
No change: designed room
Decrease: Standard room
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2009 Li et al. Olfaction Immune activity Increase in natural killer cell activity
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cypress wood oil (3 nights) Adult male
n = 12
Original article [37]
Endocrine activity Decrease in adrenaline concentration in urine
Decrease in noradrenaline concentration in urine
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2008 Sakuragawa et al. Taction Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure
Increase: aluminum, acrylic plastic, and cold acrylic plastic board
No change: cedar, cypress, and oak board
Decrease: cold oak board
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, oak, acrylic plastic, and aluminum (cool, room temperature, and warm) (60 s) Male univ. students n = 13 Original article [75]
2008 Umeno et al. Inhalation Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using SBPV and DBPV)
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol (10 min) Totally laryngectomized male participants n = 11 Original article [52]
2007 Sadachi et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Increase in miosis rate
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol (60 s) American females n = 142 Original article [51]
2007 Yada et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Increase in miosis rate
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Cedrol (60 s) Females n = 178 (Japanese n = 64, Thai n = 57, Norwegian n = 57) Original article [50]
2007 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Brain activity Total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: 0 and 90% wood
No change: 45% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (0, 45, and 90% wood) (90 s) Male univ. students n = 15 Original article [64]
Autonomic nervous activity Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood
No change: 0 and 90% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
No change: 0 and 45% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 0, 45, and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2007 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity (Ref Nos. [63, 64]) Plus rate
Increase: 45% wood; decrease: 30% wood
Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: 90% wood
Diastolic blood pressure
Decrease: 30 and 90% wood
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Actual rooms (13 m2) (30, 45, and 90% wood) (90 s) Review (in Japanese) [67]
Audition Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [71]) Systolic blood pressure
Increase: 50, 100 and 150 cm
Peripheral blood flow
Decrease: 50, 100 and 150 cm
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Single heavy floor impact sound (falling of an automobile tire from 50, 100, and 150 cm above upstairs floor)
2005 Sakuragawa et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure
Evaluated the Japanese wall panels
“Like” group (n = 5): decrease
“Dislike” group (n = 5): no change
Evaluated the white steel wall panels
“Dislike” group (n = 9): increase
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Full-sized Japanese cypress wall panels/white steel wall panels (90 s) Male univ. students n = 14 Original article [61]
2005 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Brain activity Total-Hb concentration in the prefrontal cortex (measured using NIRS)
Increase: standard and designed room
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Standard and designed wooden room (90 s) Male univ. students n = 15 Original article [63]
Autonomic nervous activity Pulse rate
Decrease: standard room
Increase: designed room
Diastolic blood pressure
No change: designed room
Decrease: standard room
Comparison with pre-stimulation
2004 Sueyoshi et al. Audition Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure
Increase: 60 and 80 dBA
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Light floor impact sounds by tapping machine (60 and 80 dBA)/absence of impact sound (47 dBA) (5 min) Males of twenties n = 9 Original article [70]
2004 Sueyoshi et al. Audition Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure
Increase: 50, 100, and 150 cm
Peripheral blood flow
Decrease: 50, 100, and 150 cm
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Single heavy floor impact sounds by falling of the automobile tire (from 50, 100, and 150 cm above upstairs floor) (60 s) Males in 20s n = 10 Original article [71]
2004 Sueyoshi Audition Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [71]) Systolic blood pressure
Increase: 50, 100 and 150 cm
Peripheral blood flow
Decrease: 50, 100 and 150 cm
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Single heavy floor impact sounds from a falling automobile tire (from 50, 100, and 150 cm above the upstairs floor) Review (in Japanese with English abstract) [73]
Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [70]) Systolic blood pressure
Increase: 60 and 80 dBA
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Light floor impact sounds by tapping machine (60 and 80 dBA)/absence of impact sound (47 dBA)
2003 Dayawansa et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Inhibition of sympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
Enhancement of parasympathetic nervous activity (measured using HRV)
*Comparison with control
Cedrol/air (10 min) Adults n = 26 (male n = 10, female n = 16) Original article [49]
2002 Tsunetsugu et al. Vision Autonomic nervous activity Decrease in pulse rate
*Comparison with designed wooden room
Standard wooden room/designed wooden room (90 s) Male univ. students n = 10 Original article [62]
2002 Hiruma et al. Olfaction Brain activity Increase in the amplitude of the early and late CNV components
*Comparison with control
Hiba oil/air (30 min) Females of twenties n = 16 Original article [41]
1998 Morikawa et al. Taction Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure and pulse rate
Small fluctuation: Japanese cypress and cedar
Large fluctuation: stainless steel and denim
Japanese cypress, Japanese cedar, stainless steel board, and denim (60 s) Female univ. students n = 19 Short communication [74]
1998 Miyazaki et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [21]) Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: Taiwan cypress wood oil
Pulse rate
Increase: eugenol
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Taiwan cypress wood oil and eugenol Review (in Japanese) [59]
1996 Terauchi et al. Olfaction Brain activity Early CNV amplitudes at Fz
Decrease: 7 kinds of coniferous wood flour
Alpha/beta wave ratio of EEG at Cz
Increase: Hiba wood flour
*Comparison with control
Seven kinds of coniferous wood flour/air Univ. and grad. students n = 10 (male n = 5, female n = 5) Original article (in Japanese with English abstract) [40]
1995 Sueyoshi and Miyazaki Audition Brain activity Alpha waves of EEG
Decrease: 74 and 78 dBA
Theta waves of EEG
Decrease: 63 dBA
*Comparison with control
Light floor impact sounds by tapping machine (54, 63, 73, and 78 dBA)/absence of impact sound (47 dBA) (90 s) Female n = 14 Original article [69]
Other indices Operation efficiency test (letter cancellation test)
Increase mistake: 65 dBA
*Comparison with control
1995 Fukuda and Kaneko Olfaction Brain activity Incidence of alpha waves of EEG
Increase: Japanese umbrella-pine, Japanese white pine, and Japanese zelkova
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Wood specimen of 15 species of major trees in Japan (2 min) Univ. students n = 50 (male n = 25, female n = 25) Original article (in Japanese) [43]
1994 Miyazaki et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Diastolic blood pressure
decrease: “strong” smell of Taiwan cypress wood oil
The maximum constriction acceleration
Increase: “strong” smell of Taiwan cypress wood oil
*Comparison the control
Taiwan cypress wood oil (“weak”, “easily”, and “strong” smell)/air Female univ. students n = 6 Original article (in Japanese with English abstract) [36]
1993 Miyazaki et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity (Ref No. [21]) Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: Taiwan cypress wood oil
Pulse rate
Increase: eugenol
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Taiwan cypress wood oil and eugenol Review (in Japanese) [58]
1992 Miyazaki et al. Olfaction Autonomic nervous activity Systolic blood pressure
Decrease: Taiwan cypress wood oil
Pulse rate
Increase: eugenol
Comparison with pre-stimulation
Taiwan cypress wood oil and eugenol (30 min) Male univ. students n = 6 Original article (in Japanese with English abstract) [21]
  1. CNV contingent negative variations; conc. concentration, DBPV diastolic blood pressure variability, EEG electroencephalogram, HRV heart rate variability, NIRS near-infrared spectroscopy, oxy-Hb oxy-hemoglobin, rCBF regional cerebral blood flow, SBPV systolic blood pressure variability, SPET single-photon emission tomography, TRS time-resolved spectroscopy, U-K test Uchida–Kraepelin test, univ. university, VDT visual display unit