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Title: The relaxation effect of nature images and coloured light on healthy people and hospital patients in China
Author: Chan, Koon Lin Eunice
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 7234
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2015
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The use of nature scenes in photographs, digital media and colours for stress reduction has increased in recent years. However, there are few studies of the effects of such initiatives. This study began with the researcher’s observation that whilst the practice of meditation could reduce stress and increase relaxation, many people who could benefit from it were unwilling to carry it out. They may however be willing to gain some of the benefits of meditation by engaging in other ways. The research started with a developmental investigation into the effects of three different media - photographs, coloured light and film - on participants in the UK. A large number of nature photographs and video footage was created and collected for this study. The selection of the nature scenes for the tests on participants, and the inclusion of coloured lights, was based on the researcher’s own experience and knowledge in the fields of visual art, meditation and alternative therapy practice, notably Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These UK investigations were used as developmental studies to refine the methodology for China, where the research for this thesis was carried out. In China, collaboration with two different hospitals in three locations was established, and investigations were carried out with three different groups of participants: hospital patients, relatives of patients (relatives who were staying in the hospital to look after the patient’s living needs) and ‘healthy’ staff and students at associated universities. Because of the facilities provided in China, the part of the study which looked at the effects of photographs was dropped. Collaborations were formed with film makers and with hospitals to achieve the maximum research benefits. Whilst slight changes were made during the data collection phase to suit the participants and the differing environments offered by the hospitals, every attempt was made to keep the tests similar to one another. Quantitative data on pulse rate and blood pressure changes, along with participants’ post-test ratings of their relaxation levels were collected, as was qualitative information from participants consisting of their own descriptive words, phrases and comments. The process was designed to avoid any research method that might negatively affect participants, and to achieve maximum similarity of methods and fieldwork environments for the different groups of participants. This was so that the numbers of participants in each group in the different hospitals could be added together, thus creating three large groups overall, and the data from the three different groups compared. The tent structure (which was used for the coloured lights and created to provide an immediate therapeutic environment), the analytical method used and the ‘key elements’ diagram which describes the results of the qualitative data relating to nature films, were new developments which emerged during the study. The major quantitative and qualitative results, both positive and negative, are reported. Comparisons are made which show how the three different groups in China were impacted by experiencing the coloured lights and watching the films. The different impacts of the coloured lights and the films are also compared. A memory stick is included with the thesis which contains all the still and moving images used, as well as photographs of the tent structure and of some of the hospital environments encountered in China. The thesis concludes with a summary and discussion based on the findings. This argues that coloured lights and visual imagery of nature scenes both had a positive effect on participants, and that this effect could be understood as similar to some of the beneficial effects of meditation. The conclusion also discusses some of the other findings in more detail.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available