by Stephanie Chambers

iStock_000003880338Medium plus balsam firToday, I heard some interesting facts on the radio. This morning, I heard that in Norway and the Netherlands they are helping people who are suffering from depression (and other illnesses) by having their doctor send them (via a special program) to stay on a farm1. They are known as “care farms”2. Apparently, working on a farm helps them to recover from depression and get their lives together. I thought this was interesting as it involves not only being in nature, but doing something purposeful. The town where we are based in Iowa, Fairfield, was recently made part of the Blue Zones3 Project for greater longevity and it too talks about the need to have a purpose in life. 

Then, at lunch, I heard about research that shows that our psychology and even our physical stress indicators are affected by our environment. Being in a more natural environment like a green space or urban garden in places like New York City calms us down and makes us feel more relaxed.

People who are recovering from surgery have been shown to recover faster and to need less pain medication if they are given a room with a scenic view of nature4. Even people who are shown photos of nature5 or are immersed in virtual nature show some improvements.

So how does this relate to essential oils? When we open a bottle of an essential oil like Atlas Cedar, Balsam Fir,  Hemlock Spruce or one of the Eucalypts (or the Mountain Forest Synergy blend), perhaps it reminds our psychology (and maybe even physiology) of when we have been in a natural environment like walking in a forest. Perhaps that’s why so many essential oils help relieve anxiety.

Studies have shown that smelling either Rosemary or Lavender essential oil for only five minutes decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people’s saliva6.  This is similar to the effects reported as a result of being in a natural environment.

I am not proposing we just stay indoors and diffuse essential oils. As much as you can, drag yourself, your spouse and your family outdoors. Go to the park or even just the garden as much as you can to counteract the effects of the stress of our modern lives, but when that isn’t possible, bring the outdoors in with you by diffusing essential oils.

Sources:

1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1310870/Doctors-prescribe-fresh-air-farm-work-patients-depression.html

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_farming

3 https://www.bluezones.com/

4 http://www.researchgate.net/publication/17043718_View_Through_a_Window_May_Influence_Recovery_from_Surgery

5 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nature-that-nurtures/

6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597



Disclaimer: The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.