HRV & Autonomic Restoration Visual Environment Stress Trial (HARVEST)

Principal Investigator:  Kurt Beil, ND, LAc, MPH

Stress is an underlying cause of a number of diseases.  A person’s level of stress can be reduced by many different things, including the objects in their environment.  Previous research has shown that house plants may be one of these types of objects.  This study looks at how stress is affected by exposure to plants in a person’s environment.

Participants will be recruited using ads posted at local universities and grocery stores.  In the experiment, participants will be put under a mild level of stress.  They will then be moved to a room that either does or does not contain a number of indoor houseplants.  Their level of stress during the experiment will be measured by looking at the activity of their heart and nervous system, using a technique known as Heart Rate Variability (HRV).  Measures of mood and concentration will also be taken before and after exposure to plants.  It is thought that people in the room with plants will have a lower level of stress and better mood and concentration than people in the room without plants.