Breathing is one of (if not the most) important act that people perform on a daily basis. Despite that, most individuals rarely give it a second thought. After all, the act is natural and it’s thought to be easy enough that you don’t need to really focus on it at all.
This, along with increased pollution, has led to an increase in improper breathing and lack of exposure to natural and beneficial compounds from the air. Because of this, it is becoming more necessary to not only focus on implementing better breathing practices but to actively seek out ways to incorporate these natural components into the air you breathe.
Highlighted below is an overview of the negative effects of pollution, some of the benefits of natural breathing for the mind and body, as well as an introduction to how you can supplement with these important natural components through aromatherapy.
Negative Effects of Pollution
First, it’s important to must discuss the main issue that is causing a lack of healthy breathing in the population. The reason a majority of people are not getting enough natural and healthy compounds through breathing is directly related to the excess pollution around the world. This pollution can be tied to a variety of factors. For one, energy production has been unclean for years. This is one of the key contributing factors to global pollution. Along with this, reliance on vehicles has also contributed to increased fuel pollution, as well as the fact that vehicles have required unclean fuel sources for quite some time. Lastly, dependence on meat in diets is another contributing factor that has led to increased global pollution.1
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The air that you breath daily can have a tremendous impact on your overall health. Air pollution has been linked to everything from heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and more.2,3 There are all kinds of different components of outdoor air pollution that are classified as carcinogens, including but not limited, to the exhaust from vehicles, solvents, metals, dust, and more.
Because of the potential health consequences of inhaling the compounds found in polluted air, natural breathing is more important than ever.
Benefits of Natural Breathing
Maintains Health Immune System Function
One of the primary benefits that you will be able to experience from natural breathing is the ability to boost immune system function considerably. This occurs because when you immerse yourself in nature surrounded by trees and plants, you are exposed to airborne chemicals that have a range of beneficial properties.
These compounds are known to boost the function of the body’s natural killer cells, which in turns boosts immune system function.4 This is why many practice the ancient practice of forest bathing to increase exposure to beneficial organic compounds found in natural forest air.
Another major benefit that can come from natural breathing and exposure to fresh air is the reduction of stress. Many people suffer from inordinate amounts of stress in today’s society. A majority of people are stressed out largely because of poor lifestyle decisions. However, just about anything can play a role in increasing stress levels, including but not limited to diet, exercise, and even the way you breathe and the air you breathe.
As a direct result, by increasing your exposure to fresh air, you will be able to minimize the stress that affects your body and mind. Because stress can be harmful both the mind and body, it is important to work to reduce it. This is particularly true when dealing with long-term and persistent stress.
Believe it or not, but spending more time outdoors and exposing yourself to natural elements found in nature can help boost focus. According to The Department Of Energy Conservation, the busy lives of modern individuals have resulted in a phenomenon that is being referred to as Directed Attention Fatigue, which makes it difficult to concentrate if exposed to any distractions.
They also found that those who spend more time outdoors and in nature achieve a better ability to focus through giving the cognitive portion of the brains a mental break.5
Decreases Recovery Time
Studies have shown that simply having a natural view can help individuals recover from surgery faster, as well as reduce the need for pain medication.6 This effect can be heightened further by actual exposure to the aromatic compounds found in these natural environments.
How Aromatherapy Can Help
Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that can simulate being in a natural environment with clean air. When used with the right essential oils, you will be able to effectively supplement your breathing with natural and organic compounds that would normally only be obtained through exposure to fresh air found in a forest.
The top benefits of aromatherapy are discussed below
Provides Exposure to Terpenes
Have you ever walked through a forest and taken in a deep breath of fresh air and instantly felt better? If so, you have been exposed to terpenes. Terpenes are what human ancestors breathed in while living in natural environments. Terpenes are organic compounds found in the air in forest environments and they offer many benefits.
As human lifestyles have changed, and as more and more people live and spend time in cities, people inhale fewer terpenes. Without exposure to terpenes and with increased exposure to pollutants found in city air, it is believed that the body may lose some of its ability to heal itself, which is why increasing terpene exposure can prove beneficial.
Unfortunately, pollution is known to result in an inflammatory response from the lungs and other organs in the body.7 Because of this, it is important to expose yourself to clean air in order to effectively combat this excess inflammation.
One of the best ways to do so is by exposing yourself to beneficial essential oils that are known to fight inflammation, like lavender essential oil.8 Because a majority of people live in the city and are exposed to air pollutants every single day, this benefit of essential oils is especially important for maintaining homeostasis—balance in the body.
As you can see, the air you breath can impact overall health in a variety of ways. Without exposure to clean air, individuals miss out natural aromatic compounds that are not only beneficial but essential, for the body and mind.
Luckily, there are ways to simulate and supplement natural breathing through the practice of aromatherapy. By incorporating aromatherapy in your daily life with the use of something like a room diffuser or portable diffusers like Healthy or Zen MONQ, you can expose yourself to more natural air components like terpenes which can offer increased immunity, reduced stress, and higher energy levels.
Photo credits: CagriKilicci/shutterstock.com, ZackFrank/shutterstock.com, WAYHOMEstudio/shutterstock.com, colors/shutterstock.com, AntonioGuillem/shutterstock.com, Mr.Yotsaran/shutterstock.com