By Bob Condor

Gimme a N. Gimme an A. Gimme a T. Gimme a U. Gimme a R. Gimme an E.

What’s that spell?

Stress relief.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab conducted a recent experiment that showed looking out the window at scenes of nature can alleviate stress levels in the body. Satisfyingly, the UW scientists found that putting those same nature scenes on a high-definition plasma television screen did nothing to reduce heart rate associated with minor stress.

Just don’t tell Dad until after the U.S. Open golf tournament this Father’s Day if he insists watching a tournament with rolling green fairways, majestic trees and the Pacific Ocean is relaxing.

In fact, the plasma-screen watchers didn’t enjoy any nature lift.

“The heart rate of people who looked at the scene through the window dropped more quickly than the others. In fact, the high-definition plasma screen had no more effect than the blank wall,” the researchers wrote in a study published in the June i

ssue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Another finding: People who spent more time looking at the nature scene out the window tended to further reduce heart rate while there was no such effect for the TV viewers..

“Technology is good and it can help our lives, but let's not be fooled into thinking we can live without nature,” said Peter Kahn, who led the research team, pointing out that Discovery Channel and Animal Planet are not substitutes for the real thing.

An earlier Daily Health Blog entry reported on how indoor plants can improve workers’ mental outlook and job satisfaction. Score another victory for nature, our most compelling home team.

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing. He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.”