Previously, we saw that the studies examining the effects of wooden rooms and furnishings clearly demonstrate that the presence of wood has positive physiological effects, lowering blood pressure, heart rate and stress responses when compared to other material types. These physiological responses are specifically controlled by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). SNS activation occurs when the body prepares itself for stress, increasing blood pressure and heart rate, whilst inhibiting digestion, recovery and the immune system in order to deal with any immediate threats it perceives. Long term exposure to environments that induce stress can trigger serious health consequences, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and related cardiometabolic complications.
Studies also suggest that exposure to stress and stress hormones during childhood and adolescence increases the probability of individuals developing stress-related mental disorders later in life, as well as influencing the timing of puberty. Decreasing the stress of school (one of the most stressful activities in childhood) by incorporating natural wood into the classroom can therefore have significant and long lasting positive effects.
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