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Austrian Study finds Wood Surroundings to Significantly Increase Well-Being

20 June 2017

A study, undertaken by the Human Research Institute in Austria, showed that surrounding yourself with more solid wood materials can help to decrease your heart rate and experienced stress levels as well as help to increase vagal activity.

For the study, conducted from 2008-2009, two classrooms in the secondary school “Haus im Ennstal” were equipped with solid wood materials, including timber flooring, ceilings and hallways and lighting amongst other items.

Physiological and psychological test outcomes of the pupils in these classrooms were then compared to the outcomes achieved by pupils who had to spend the school year in a classroom with no solid wood materials. The tests, which included heart rate monitoring, measuring vagal tone, and measuring school-related stress, were performed bi-monthly over the summer of 2008 and the whole 2008/09 school year on a total of 52 children. Types of woods used for the study included oak (oiled), fir (untreated), spruce (untreated), Swiss stone pine, pine, and beech.

The found outcomes were quite astonishing. Regarding the children in the “solid wood classrooms” the researchers were able to show a clear decrease in heart rate. In fact, the heart beats of these children fell by an average of 8600 during the day. Further positive consequences were higher vagal activity (less infarctions and injuries to the heart) and decreasing stress levels as the school year progressed. All the found health improvements are long term, did not affect performance in any way, and occurred as soon as the children entered the classrooms.

The full article can be read here .