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Evaluating the relaxation effects of emerging forest-therapy tourism: A multidisciplinary approach


  • Ohe, Yasuo
  • Ikei, Harumi
  • Song, Chorong
  • Miyazaki, Yoshifumi


Considering the increasing demand for rural areas to play a role in easing stress mainly experienced by urban dwellers, we investigated from a multidisciplinary collaborative approach, i.e., physiological, psychological, and rural business management perspectives, the relaxation effects of forest-therapy tourism, an emerging type of rural tourism, on a group of urban office workers. Also investigated were conditions necessary for a sustainable rural business in Chizu, western Japan. First, the results verified physiological and psychological relaxation effects, which lasted from three to five days after forest therapy. The lasting physiological and psychological effects among those with systolic blood pressure ≥120 mmHg, however, were weaker than in the entire sample. Second, due to the ageing and depopulation of the local community, increasing the number of households that provided home stay services was difficult. In summary, it is necessary to fully integrate scientific evidence to support a viable new rural tourism business.

Suggested Citation

  • Ohe, Yasuo & Ikei, Harumi & Song, Chorong & Miyazaki, Yoshifumi, 2017. "Evaluating the relaxation effects of emerging forest-therapy tourism: A multidisciplinary approach," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 322-334.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:touman:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:322-334
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2017.04.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sujin Park & Soojin Kim & Geonwoo Kim & Yeji Choi & Eunsoo Kim & Domyung Paek, 2021. "Evidence-Based Status of Forest Healing Program in South Korea," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(19), pages 1-16, October.
    2. Buckley, R.C., 2019. "Therapeutic mental health effects perceived by outdoor tourists: A large-scale, multi-decade, qualitative analysis," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 164-167.
    3. Mengyuan Qiu & Ji Sha & Sulistyo Utomo, 2020. "Listening to Forests: Comparing the Perceived Restorative Characteristics of Natural Soundscapes before and after the COVID-19 Pandemic," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(1), pages 1-20, December.
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    5. Ying Li & Ting Wen, 2022. "Impact of Cognition and Social Trust on Forest-Based Health Tourism Intention during COVID-19," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(1), pages 1-15, December.
    6. Ilaria Doimo & Mauro Masiero & Paola Gatto, 2021. "Disentangling the Diversity of Forest Care Initiatives: A Novel Research Framework Applied to the Italian Context," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-21, January.
    7. Sus Sola Corazon & Ulrik Sidenius & Dorthe Varning Poulsen & Marie Christoffersen Gramkow & Ulrika Karlsson Stigsdotter, 2019. "Psycho-Physiological Stress Recovery in Outdoor Nature-Based Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Past Eight Years of Research," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 16(10), pages 1-21, May.
    8. Sujin Park & Yeji Choi & Geonwoo Kim & Eunsoo Kim & Soojin Kim & Domyung Paek, 2021. "Physiological and Psychological Assessments for the Establishment of Evidence-Based Forest Healing Programs," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(17), pages 1-42, September.
    9. Mehdi Rezaei & Doohwan Kim & Ahad Alizadeh & Ladan Rokni, 2021. "Evaluating the Mental-Health Positive Impacts of Agritourism; A Case Study from South Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(16), pages 1-16, August.
    10. Xueli Li & Songtao Geng & Suyu Liu, 2022. "Social Network Analysis on Tourists’ Perceived Image of Tropical Forest Park: Implications for Niche Tourism," SAGE Open, , vol. 12(1), pages 21582440211, January.
    11. Albert Bach Pagès & Josep Peñuelas & Jana Clarà & Joan Llusià & Ferran Campillo i López & Roser Maneja, 2020. "How Should Forests Be Characterized in Regard to Human Health? Evidence from Existing Literature," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(3), pages 1-15, February.
    12. Büyüközkan, Gülçin & Mukul, Esin & Kongar, Elif, 2021. "Health tourism strategy selection via SWOT analysis and integrated hesitant fuzzy linguistic AHP-MABAC approach," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    13. Gianluca Grilli & Sandro Sacchelli, 2020. "Health Benefits Derived from Forest: A Review," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(17), pages 1-11, August.
    14. Yonko Dodev & Miglena Zhiyanski & Maria Glushkova & Bilyana Borisova & Lidiya Semerdzhieva & Ivo Ihtimanski & Stelian Dimitrov & Stoyan Nedkov & Mariyana Nikolova & Won-Sop Shin, 2021. "An Integrated Approach to Assess the Potential of Forest Areas for Therapy Services," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(12), pages 1-30, December.
    15. Mengyuan Qiu & Ji Sha & Noel Scott, 2021. "Restoration of Visitors through Nature-Based Tourism: A Systematic Review, Conceptual Framework, and Future Research Directions," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(5), pages 1-18, February.
    16. Yu-Jen Chiang, 2023. "Multisensory Stimuli, Restorative Effect, and Satisfaction of Visits to Forest Recreation Destinations: A Case Study of the Jhihben National Forest Recreation Area in Taiwan," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(18), pages 1-19, September.

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