UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Impacts of Forest Therapy on the Physical and Mental Health of College Students: A Review He, Mei; Hu, Yuan; Wen, Ye; Wang, Xin; Wei, Yawei; Sheng, Gonghan; Wang, Guangyu

Abstract

The aim of this review is to investigate the impacts of various forest therapy activities on the physical and mental health of college students. Additionally, it evaluates the research methodologies and existing issues in current studies, providing an important agenda for future research. Research was conducted based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). The findings suggest significant effects of forest therapy activities on the physiology and psychology of college students, notably improving the cardiovascular system, enhancing the immune system, boosting emotional well-being, alleviating job-related stress, and enhancing academic performance. This study further clarifies forest therapy as an emerging and effective intervention to reduce stress levels among college students, particularly when carried out continuously in easily accessible campus forest environments. Such therapeutic activities could serve as a component of daily stress-relieving programs for college students. This assessment offers valuable information for college students, educational institutions, and policymakers to promote the development of forest therapy on university campuses. However, some of the studies included in this investigation lacked methodological rigor. Future research should employ rigorous study designs to assess the long-term impacts of various forest therapy approaches on the mental and physical health of college students and identify the primary influencing factors. This will aid in determining suitable content, forms, and strategies for forest therapy projects tailored to college students, thereby maximizing the potential benefits of forest therapy on their mental and physical well-being.

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CC BY 4.0