I often talk about how Essential Oils balance the body by bringing the body, organs, and systems in the body back into a state of balance where the body can then heal itself.
Essential Oils Balance the Body
When we return the body to balance, we are just helping to remove obstacles or bottlenecks that impede the smooth function of the body. It’s not dissimilar to a traffic jam caused by construction or an accident that closes 3 out of 4 lanes. All the traffic behind it backs up. But, the moment the bottleneck is cleared, traffic can flow freely. The same is true for systems in your body.
The more in balance we are, the easier it is for us to react to external stressors and return to balance. Unfortunately, a pattern of chronic and prolonged stress keeps the body out of balance and makes it more challenging to return to balance. The body has forgotten how to regulate itself. This dysregulation is one of the reasons that people get sick and struggle to recover.
One way to return the body to balance is to connect with nature as the human nervous system is both of nature and attuned to it. I have always known that essential oils help to provide this balance, but recently stumbled upon research related to the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’
that helps scientifically confirm that connecting to nature helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well being.
Forest bathing is in essence, just the practice of being in the presence of trees. It became part of the Japanese national public health program in 1982. They have since spent millions of dollars researching how the practice of forest bathing improves immune system function.
The studies measured the activity of human natural killer (NK) cells (the immune cells that provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells and respond to tumor formation) before and after exposure to the woods. The results found significant increases in NK cell activity in the week after a forest visit, and positive effects lasted a month following each weekend in the woods.
The positive results are credited to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood, plants, and some fruit and vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.
Additional experiments measured salivary cortisol (which increases with stress), blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability during a day in the city and compared those to the same biometrics taken during a day with a 30-minute forest visit. “Forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments,” the study concluded.
In other words, being in nature made subjects, physiologically, less amped. The parasympathetic nervous system controls the body’s rest-and-digest system while the sympathetic nerve system governs fight-or-flight responses. Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.