School without stress
In a recent field examination in cooperation with the Wood Cluster Styria in the school ‘Haus im Ennstal’ four classrooms were equipped without (standard class) or mainly with solid wood materials (solid-classes). In the summer of 2008 and bi-monthly during the school year 2008/2009 regular psychophysiological measurements were performed in 52 pupils.
Significant differences between the health parameters of the pupils in the different classes mainly occured in heart rate (as a stress indicator), in vagal tone (as heart preserving recovery indicator) and in the experienced school-related stress. Significant benefits in the classes with solid wood furnishings could be identified. It turned out that pupils of these classes exhibited a decreasing of heartbeats by an average of 8600 beats during the day and showed significantly higher vagal activity during wakefulness. In medicine the vagal tone plays an important cardioprotective role, which means it protects the heart from infarction and injury.
Class room of solid wood (left) and control class room (right).