Research Brief

Exposure to Nature Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

Publication Date:


This study was focused on testing the effect of nature exposure on chemotherapy patients during their treatment session in a comprehensive cancer infusion center. The study observed 33 participants with various cancers in three rooms in random order at different cycles to receive chemotherapy: control room, green therapy room, virtual reality (VR) nature room.

Participants' pain, distress, heart rate, blood pressure, and saliva cortisol were measured before and after infusion in each room.

Key Takeaways

  • There was a reduction in patients' various health measures after each nature intervention although results are not statistically significant.
  • Patients reported the experience positively when they were in Green Therapy or the Virtual Reality room compared to the control room.
  • Since participating in the study, a large percentage of patients reported spending more time in nature.


  • Exposure to nature via VR or green therapy can reduce perceived distress and pain in cancer patients.
  • Exposure to nature during chemotherapy also encouraged behavior change in cancer patients: half of the participants spent more time in nature between chemotherapy sessions.