The soothing, soporific effects of sitting by a fire during the depths of winter have long been established.
Now the results of a study have indicated that the very idea of a log fire helps to lower blood pressure. In the research, 226 adults were shown a video of a fire complete with sound effects.
The subjects' blood pressure was taken before and after viewing the fire for different periods of time. Scientists said the results "indicated consistent blood pressure decreases across the participants. They appeared to become more relaxed the longer they watched the footage".
The Study published in the journal "Evolutionary Psychology" said "Results indicated consistent blood pressure decreases .. and fires induce relaxation"
The lead researcher, Christopher Lynn, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama, believes that the modern day calming effect is evolutionary and may be traced back to the Stone Age. Early humans relied on fire and it provided them with a focal point to build relationships, the paper suggests.
"The importance of fire in human evolutionary history is widely acknowledged but the extent not fully explored" it reads. "For early humans, fire likely extended the day, provided heat, helped with hunting, warded off predators and insects, illuminated dark places and facilitated cooking"