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Forest Bathing

The Negative Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution has become a widespread global problem. It refers to the general release of pollutants into the air. Not only is it bad for the entire planet, but it is detrimental to human health as well. Air pollution can be caused by a variety of different things. A majority of it comes from either energy production or energy use. Below, we will be going into more detail on why our air has become so polluted, how it can negatively impact our body and some of the benefits of breathing in clean air.

plant creating pollution

Why Has Our Air Become So Polluted?

Reliance On Fossil Fuel

One of the most significant reasons our air has become so polluted has to do with our reliance on fossil fuel. The reliance on and overuse of fossil fuel has become a major reason why we are dealing with so much pollution. We rely on fossil fuel to fuel our transportation. This overuse has resulted in increased levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. This has led levels to rise higher than they have been in the past 150 years according to National Geographic. 1

Dependence On Meat

Another lesser-known reason our air has become so polluted has to do with our dependence on meat. This is not only because the industry by in large has tripled in the past 3 decades, but also because these livestock animals require so much farmland. As a result, a lot of forests have been completely cut down in order to make way for additional farmland for these animals. 2 Not to mention, to feed the livestock it requires a significant amount of water, fossil fuels, and pesticides which further pollute the air and environment as a whole. To compound the issue, animal waste is another significant issue that causes increasing concern as it emits significant amounts of pollutants into the air including methane, carbon dioxide, and various other greenhouse gases.

Now that we have gone over some of the different reasons our air has become so polluted, we will be going over some of the different ways it can negatively impact the body.

How Pollution Can Negatively Impact Your Body:

broken heart in hands

Damages Both Your Heart And Your Lungs

One of the most significant ways pollution can negatively impact your health is by damaging both your heart and lungs. Even short exposure to pollution can have serious health ramifications. It has been shown to produce negative impacts on both respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Weakens Your Bones

Believe it or not, but pollution can also increase the risk of suffering either from osteoporosis specifically or general bone fractures. This is primarily a result of exposure to black carbon which can be found in automotive emissions.

woman looking at skin

Cause Skin Aging

Another significant way that pollution can negatively impact the body is by causing the skin to prematurely age. There is plenty of data that suggests that not only can it result in accelerated aging, but it can also interfere with the skin’s ability to heal itself according to Adam Friedman, MD. 3 Along with this, air pollution has caused a significant thinning of the ozone layer which protects us from harmful UV rays. Because this layer has been thinned out, more harmful UV rays can cause damage to our skin.

Cause Lung Disease

Another significant way that you can be negatively impacted by air pollution is through lung disease. In serious instances, you can develop long-term lung complications due to exposure to harmful pollutants in the air.

man using inhaler

Respiratory Problems

Another way that you might be impacted by increased levels of air pollution is through having respiratory problems. This is especially true if you are someone that is already inflicted with a respiratory issue, to begin with.

Now that we have gone over some of the different ways air pollution and exposure to it can harm you, we will be going over some of the different ways exposure to clean air can help and how to get it.

Why Clean Air Is Good For You:

Exposure to fresh air can do wonders for your body. It can allow you to increase the amount of oxygen in your body which can improve blood pressure, blood circulation, immunity, and more. Along with this, it can be good for your digestive system and even help clear your lungs. Because of the positive impact it can have on just about all of the various essential bodily organs and systems, it can improve your overall health.

How To Take In More Clean Air:

woman enjoying waterfall

Forest Bathing

The real goal of forest bathing is to really slow down, become immersed in Mother Nature, and to take in the fresh air. The practice began in Japan in the early 1990s. There is evidence that the practice can help to provide several benefits to our health. Not only has it shown to reduce stress in individuals through minimizing blood pressure levels, but it has shown to also effectively boost immunity levels [forest bathing].


Another great way to experience some of the many benefits of taking in the fresh air and organic compounds is by practicing aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has many inherent benefits that can help your mind and body. In fact, it can even counteract a lot of the harm we are doing to our bodies through air pollution exposure. One of the ways it can help is by boosting our immunity and increasing our body’s natural healing power. This is through aromatherapy helping to stimulate both blood flow and oxygen throughout our body. Some of the best natural compounds and essential oils to simulate clean air would be sandalwood, peppermint, mint, eucalyptus, and more. 4 , 5

Overall, air pollution is something that is negatively impacting not only our environment but our health as a whole. It can cause serious health issues, which is why it is important to try to proactively counteract the negative impact it can have on our general health. One of the best ways to do so is by either immersing yourself in a forest environment, which is essentially giving yourself an intense aromatherapy session or simply using a portable diffuser to breathe in natural compounds that can minimize the negative impact of pollution on your body.

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