Why woodworking is good for you

The Back To Nature Effect

Whether you want to learn for the first time, or an experienced hobbyist, you might be surprised to know that it is much more than just a normal hobby. Studies have actually revealed why woodworking is good for you. 

In 2017, researchers at Chiba University in Japan found by merely touching white oak causes a calming of prefrontal cortex activity, relative to marble, tile, and stainless steel. Participants in the study provided subjective reports of feeling “slightly comfortable” after contact with white oak; however, they provided reports of feeling “indifferent to slightly uncomfortable” after touching other materials. This study aimed to clarify the physiological effects on brain activity and autonomic nervous activity. After sitting at rest with their eyes closed, participants touched different materials for 90 s. After touching white oak, the oxy-Hb concentration decreased in the left/right prefrontal cortex relative to marble, tile, and stainless steel and (2) increased ln(HF)-reflected parasympathetic nervous activity relative to marble and stainless steel. 

The study thus revealed that just touching wood with the palm calms the prefrontal cortex activity and induces parasympathetic nervous activity more than other materials, thereby inducing physiological relaxation. 

(i.e.; You actually feel better by just touching wood. :))

Why not try it by building something small and experience why woodworking is good for you. Perhaps a gift for a sick friend?

Why woodworking is important for you

Why woodworking is good for you

To explain this phenomenon, a “back to nature” theory was advocated. A claim that human physiological functions are best adapted to a natural environment because over 99.99% of the course of human evolution, since our ancestors started evolving from a subset of primates into our current form around 6–7 million years ago, has been spent in a natural environment. Thus, in modern environments, stress rates in people have been found to be highly elevated which also points to the fact that human beings function much better in a natural environment.

Conversely, we have spent less than 0.01% of our species’ history in a modern environment, which only started with the beginning of urbanization in the Industrial Revolution. The highly urbanized and artificial environments that we currently inhabit are the root cause of the “stress state” in modern people. Humans enter a more relaxed state when exposed to natural environments or our original natural state as human beings. 

The researchers at Chiba University also concluded that the physiological relaxation that touching wood creates, could also be due to the effects of a familiar and representative natural material for humans. Due to the course of human evolution since our ancestors started evolving from a subset of primates into the current form, spanning over the course of 6- 7 million years. When we spend more time in natural environments, researchers have also found that the ‘comfortable feeling’ provided when people touch wood, brings the back to nature effect into play and proves why woodworking is good for you.

Since then, a new concept of moku-iku have been realised: how the “quality of life is improved by being brought up in the presence of wood” and that “contact with wood is physiologically relaxing and enhances immune function, brain activity and the nervous system.

It’s never too late to start learning Woodworking and gaining something that might last forever.

Why not try and make it financially beneficial at the same time? 🙂

Why Woodworking is important for you
TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects
Related Articles