2011 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 59-65
Flower arrangements are widely used for decoration, but also for emotional healing. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, dating back over 600 years. Although ikebana has been used for psychological rehabilitation, no research has examined its effect on physiological responses in individuals. We examined the effect of viewing photos of ikebana on anxiety and respiratory responses. For controls, we used photos of ikebana that were artificially changed from real, beautiful photos to non-beautiful altered photos. Participants' sense of beauty was measured by a visual analogue scale (VAS). Values were significantly higher while viewing the real photos compared to altered photos (P < 0.05). The VAS score differences between the real and altered photos were also significantly higher in subjects with low trait anxiety (P < 0.05). There was no significant change in respiratory rate (RR) between subjects viewing real and retouched photos. However, the mean difference in RR when viewing real photos compared to retouched photos was higher in subjects with low trait anxiety scores. There was no correlation between VAS score differences and trait anxiety scores. However, differences in RR when viewing real photos compared to viewing retouched photos had a significantly negative correlation (P < 0.05). Results indicated that RR was slower when viewing photos of ikebana in subjects with higher trait anxiety. Our findings suggest that viewing beautiful things may relax individuals who have high anxiety.