Gather some wood and bring it home because it is proven to help you relax. In a research paper titled: “Physiological Effects of Touching Wood,” by 3 scientists at Chiba University in Japan, it is shown that touching wood has a significant relaxing effect on people compared to marble, tile, and stainless steel. The researchers painstakingly prove what most of us know by intuition, wood is comfortable to be around. The researchers sought to gather scientific evidence that touching wood has a beneficial effect on mood states and can cause physiological relaxation that has a preventative medical effect. Could it be that hardwood floors don’t just add value to your home, but also contribute to your good health? Knock on wood. It’s not just about luck anymore.
Physiological Effects of Touching Wood Measured
Study subjects were blindfolded and were unable to tell what material they were touching. Their brain activity was measured by monitoring oxyhemoglobin concentrations in the prefrontal cortex using near-infrared time-resolved spectroscopy. The oxy-Hb concentrations immediately decreased after touching wood. Lower oxy-Hb has been proven to correspond with lower stress level. Heart rate was measured as an indication of autonomic nervous system activity. The high frequency component of heart rate variability immediately increased when touching wood. This result is associated with physiological relaxation. Advances in non-invasive monitoring of physical activity has enabled this type of research to be much more comfortable for the study participants. As a result, many things were easily tested, and the details of the study are interesting but let’s move from empirical data to the conclusions.
Why Does Getting Back to Nature Have Health Benefits?
“To explain this phenomenon, Miyazaki has advocated a “back to nature” theory. In this theory, they claim human physiological functions are best adapted to a natural environment because over 99.99% of the course of human evolution since our ancestors started evolving from a subset of primates into our current form around 6–7 million years ago has been spent in a natural environment. Conversely, we have spent less than 0.01% of our species’ history in a modern environment, which only started with the beginning of urbanization in the Industrial Revolution. The highly urbanized and artificial environments that we currently inhabit are the root cause of the “stress state” in modern people. We therefore enter a relaxed state when exposed to the natural environment or to a nature-derived stimulation, which brings us closer to our original natural state as human beings. Tactile stimulation by touching wood with the palm is considered to bring about physiological relaxation effects because wood is a familiar and representative natural material for humans.” Explains one of the study authors, Yoshifumi Miyazaki.
Why Choose Real Wood Over Other Types of Flooring?
While the research we are talking about is not specifically about wood flooring. We think it is important to consider that the types of materials used in your home could have an impact on your health. Most of us cannot live in a forest but we can install beautiful hardwood flooring and perhaps feel the calming effect through our feet. At Saddleback Carpet & Flooring we want to help you make the best decision for your new flooring. We measure your floor for free and show you the best options for your new flooring based on your budget and the room that is being covered. Get started today, please click the button below to schedule your appointment.