New research suggests that relaxing by the Thames River can help reduce stress levels.

A study commissioned by business service Kingston First (KF) released this week showed that relaxing by Britain's most famous river for even 30 minutes can help reduce a person's stress levels as measured by the hormone cortisol, a steroid found in the body often referred to as the "stress hormone".

The research was conducted by Professor Angela Clow and Dr Nina Smyth from the University of Westminster.

Its results highlighted the many health and wellbeing benefits associated with spending time beside the Thames, with participants recording a drop in cortisol during the study by up to 28 per cent after they took part in the study.

The experiment encouraged local office workers to take a break and put health and wellness to the top of their agenda.

"Stress levels were analysed via a self-assessed questionnaire and salivary cortisol analysis, before and after a 30-minute duration by the River Thames," KF said.

During the experiment, participants were asked to refrain from using electronic gadgets such as iPads or mobile phones, and instead "fully immerse themselves in the scenic surroundings," KF added.

Dr. Nina Smyth commented: "The results showed a very rapid decrease in cortisol compared to the normal day decline" — supporting a broadly recognized theory that water provides psychological benefits.

Participants involved in the experiment reported 'baseline' stress levels that were 38 per cent lower than that of the comparable laboratory reference data, based on previous research of participants of a similar age.

Professor Angela Clow said: "We were very surprised by these results as on average the participants were some of the least stressed we have studied!"