By Barbara Schellenberg –
“Out of sight, out of mind” … Perhaps because we do not see the air around us we do not consider the important role air quality plays in our daily health and energy levels.
Since we do spend a great deal of time indoors, in our own homes, that is the best place to focus on air quality. It is also the easiest place to have some real control over the air you breathe.
The capacity to supply adequate oxygen to the brain, our body’s most ‘expensive’ organ, is the end goal of so much of what we strive for with healthy diet and exercise; making sure there is a good supply of oxygen in the air we breathe is, of course, very helpful, as well.
Improving air quality in the home may seem like an investment at first, but over the months it requires little maintenance and can have a huge impact on your health, giving you more mileage out of the quality food you are buying.
Here is a step-by-step guide to improving the air quality in your home:
1. De-clutter and dust: Keeping surfaces and floors clean and dust free reduces the workload on your body. When you breath dusty air, your body literally acts as a filter; reduce stress simply by keeping up on dusting.
2. Reduce toxic plastics and fragrances: Plastic is in a continual stage of breaking down. It does this by constantly off-gassing. Eliminating as many unnecessary plastic and rubber items as possible will help reduce indoor air pollution. Fragrances in most commercial laundry detergents and scented products inhibit deep breathing since our bodies do what they can to reduce intake of toxic chemicals; if those chemicals are floating around in the air you breath, your body will naturally respond by reducing your air intake to a minimum. This affects your energy levels and your overall health and longevity.
3. Add a humidifier to your home: Adding a little moisture to the air in your home will help reduce dust and increases the breathability of the air. For about $50 on Amazon you can find very beautiful light-up humidifiers that double as essential oil diffusers. Remember when buying essential oils to make sure they are not synthetic fragrances. You can have fun with essential oils, too, using them therapeutically in the humidifier to influence the energy in your home. Because essential oils smell good, they actually induce deeper breathing, making us take in more oxygen even when we are sedentary.
4. House plants: My favourite part of indoor air improvement. Using living nature to improve the air quality in your home is probably the most powerful thing you can do for your home. Just like you, your plants need to have good air to thrive, so all the above steps are also important for setting the stage for successful oxygen farming in your home. You may require a little research to determine which plants are right for your home depending on light available and space. A snake plant about two feet in diameter will generate enough daily oxygen for one adult. Imagine the impact this can have on your indoor environment.
When you do get houseplants, make sure to invest a little time into the proper care of them. Do this with your kids and they will learn a lot, too. Since the plants are living things they require near daily attention and they will reward you for it by producing oxygen for your family. Misting the plants daily with water and giving them at least a monthly shower to remove dust from their leaves will help them produce more efficiently.
5. Consider an air filter: A quality carbon filter for the air in your home can take your health to the next level. They are a bit of an investment, a good one being around $800, but your whole family will benefit from the reduced pollution in the air. Not only will they remove dust and hair from pets and other sources, but also mold spores and the toxic gasses released by plastics.
Improving the quality of the air you breath will help you get more out of the food you eat and all the other things you do for your health.
Invigorating Morning Wake Up Call:
Add 10 drops each oregano, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils to your humidifier. Set it on high in the bathroom and the steam generated from morning showers will help distribute the fragrance throughout the home. Encouraging deep breathing naturally wakes the sleepy body with a rush of oxygen, setting the stage for a happy, productive day.
Relaxing Evening Wind Down:
To your humidifier add 20 drops lavender essential oil and 10 drops lemon or orange essential oil. Set the humidifier on high to increase distribution in the home. The lavender pairs nicely with citrus and calms the nervous system. Again, the natural fragrances in the air will encourage deeper breathing even when you are asleep. Your houseplants also release the bulk of their oxygen at night, so if you are breathing deeper you will be getting more restorative oxygen into your body.
For past “Nourishing our Children” newsletters visit www.thegreengazette.ca.