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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 639: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Expanding Roles for Horticulture in Improving Human Well-Being and Life Quality

PAIN TOLERANCE EFFECTS OF ORNAMENTAL PLANTS IN A SIMULATED HOSPITAL PATIENT ROOM

Authors:   S.-H. Park, R.H. Mattson, E. Kim
Keywords:   alternative therapy, horticultural therapy, hospital flowers, human issues in horticulture, pain management, people-plant interaction, psychophysiology
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.639.31
Abstract:
Bio-monitoring experimental sessions were conducted to examine pain tolerance effects of ornamental plants in a simulated hospital patient room. Ninety female university students were randomly assigned to one of the three treatments: ‘foliage and flowering plants’, ‘foliage plants only’, and ‘no plants’. An experimental session consisted of a 5-minute baseline, a Cold Pressor Test (CPT) to induce pain by immersing a hand in 0°C (± 0.5) water, and a 5-minute recovery period. Each student viewed an assigned treatment during the CPT and recovery period. Pain responses were evaluated by measuring pain tolerance time and self-ratings of pain intensity and pain distress. Psycho-biological responses of brainwave activities (EEG alpha: 8-12 Hz, EEG beta: 21-27 Hz), electrodermal activities (EDA), and finger skin temperatures were recorded continuously and simultaneously. The presence of plants, as compared to the absence of plants, significantly improved female students’ pain tolerance. This was indicated by longer pain tolerance time during the CPT, lower self-rating scores on the pain intensity, and lower EDA responses of students who viewed plants (‘foliage and flowering plants’ or ‘foliage plants only’) as compared to ‘no plants’. As compared to foliage plants, adding flowering plants had more positive effects in pain tolerance time, pain intensity, and pain distress.
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