Living on Canada’s west coast surrounded by trees, I was usually more concerned about daughter’s year-round hay fever than about breathing or the outdoor air quality.
It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives. But after two summers of forest fires, air quality has become a much bigger concern.
From the moment of our birth, our body’s “autonomic nervous system” controls our breathing; we don’t even have to think about it. Adults breathe anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. If you do the math, (which I did), that adds up to 17,280 – 28,800 breaths per day (depending on your fitness and/or stress levels). While we can’t-do a lot about outdoor pollution personally (well other than voting in governments that have strong environmental protection plans, writing letters/petitions to your MP or MLA, and recycling! Sorry that was just a little rant), we can do something about the air quality in our homes.
Things you can do:
Get rid of chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric refreshers, and Synthetic Room Sprays/ Plugins.
Avoid using Incense & candles with synthetic fragrances, or at least limit their use and get some ventilation into the room. (I am finding that these 2 things really bother me.)
Go more natural with your Personal Body Care Products. There are a lot of products available, but educate yourself & read the labels to find the best ones. (No one in my house is allowed to use a certain type of Body Spray because it affects my breathing.)
Due to the dust, pack away books in plastic containers, and edit the knic knacks in your home. (I'm in the process of doing this right now)
Air out your home frequently. Many manufactured items in your home will continue to off-gas to some extent. Older homes were drafty so this wasn’t as much of a problem, but newer homes are more airtight so it is important to open some windows periodically, especially during the winter months
Consider getting some plants in your home. NASA calls plants part of “Nature’s Life Support System”. Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, English Ivy & Weeping Fig plants are a few to consider; they are fairly hardy & are thought to help with air quality due to the photosynthesis process.
And you can also use Aromatherapy in your home. When using essential oils, cheaper isn’t better, quality is. It is important that you find a reputable supplier that:
sell pure, unadulterated, preferably organic or wild crafted oils;
that your suppliers know where their oils come from & they share all the important information with you.
At a minimum you need to know:
The latin name & chem type of the oil that you are using
The country of origin,distillation process, contraindications of the essential oil.
*** You also don’t want to use any Essential Oils from endangered plants or trees, like Spikenard, Rosewood & Indian Sandalwood. There are other oils with similar scents & properties to choose from.
Ways to use essential oils in your home:
Cleaning: For more ideas on cleaning check out my blog “Spring Cleaning & Essential Oils
Diffusing: a simple, effective way to enjoy essential oils. According to Author & Aromatherapist, Robert Tisserand “(inhalation) from a safety standpoint presents a very low risk to most people”.
Try using an: Ultrasonic diffuser: Try 3 – 4 drops of your blend to the water of your in your machine and diffuse for 15 – 30 min, to see how you like the scent, but more importantly, to see how you feel.
*** When using your diffuser, Author Robert Tisserand (2014) says, “Don’t diffuse for long periods of time, 30 – 60 minutes is good”. You can do this 2 -3 times per day. For younger children & elderly family members, use your diffuser for 15 – 30 minutes. (If humidity is an issue where you live, you may want to consider using a candle or a passive diffuser)
Try these Essential Oils: Balsam Fir, Cajeput, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus radiata, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Niaouli, Palmarosa, Pine, Rosalina, Sweet Orange, Sweet Thyme, Tea Tree…
Essential oils are highly concentrated substances that should be used carefully. Even the most beneficial oils can be harmful under certain conditions.
*** If you have respiratory conditions, know what your triggers are before using your diffuser. Not everyone with respiratory conditions responds well to using essential oils. If you are under the care of a Doctor or Naturopath for a medical condition, always check with them before using essential oils.