October 18, 2019
Have you heard of Nature Therapy? If not, I'm here to share the exciting new science of NT with you.
While getting outside feels good, most of us don’t have the opportunity, time or money to take mindfulness treks in the mountains. In our increasingly screen-driven, urban lives, we’re lucky if we can touch, smell or find a natural setting nearby. Should we write off nature therapy as one of those “I wish” sort of practices? Nope!
Nature therapy is defined as “a set of practices aimed at achieving ‘preventive medical effects’ through exposure to natural stimuli that render a state of physiological relaxation and boost the weakened immune functions to prevent diseases”.
Prevention is the goal my friends not, chasing a cure.
A Natural Killer Cell (NK) is a type of immune cell with enzymes that can kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus. A natural killer cell (NK) is a type of white blood cell, we need these!
"exposure to nature benefits: (1) it improves NK cell activity in male participants; (2) same effects in female participants; (3) these effects last in male group for a month; and (4) none of these improvements are observed in a population exposed to an urban setting." However....
The effects of indoor exposure to Hinoki Cypress oils on Natural Killer cell activity were examined. The participants were 12 male instructors aged between 37 and 60 years who worked at a university. The experiment consisted of a three-night four-day stay in a metropolitan Tokyo hotel. The results showed that NK cell activity was increased and immune functions had improved.
Therefore, olfactory stimulation brought about improvements in immune functions too, no forest required.
Furthermore, single substance inhalation experiments of α-pinene and limonene, which are the main volatile components of most forests, have also been conducted. The blood pressure of the participants was measured every second throughout the 90 sec duration of stimulation. The results showed that inhalation of α-pinene and limonene decreased systolic blood pressure. Furthermore, increased **parasympathetic nervous activity and decreased heart rate were also reported on olfactory stimulation with limonene.
**The parasympathetic nervous system originates in the spinal cord and the medulla and controls homeostasis, or the maintenance of the body's systems. The parasympathetic nervous system controls the "rest and digest" functions of the body.
Add 8 to 10 drops Cypress essential oil to an ultrasonic essential oil diffuser in water or, consider a waterless diffuser ie: nebulizer for daily use.
It's my opinion that various evergreen or coniferous essential oils may have a similar effect. Of course, never miss an opportunity to go outside to receive the additional benefits of sun exposure, wildlife viewing and exercise!
Considering the significance of quality of life in our modern stressful society, the importance of nature therapy will further increase. The therapeutic effects of natural stimulation suggest a simple, accessible, and cost-effective method to improve the quality of life and health of modern people.
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