Interacting with nature reduces stress and increases our ability to pay attention. Research is now showing that smelling nature “lowers our blood pressure dramatically and increases anti-cancer molecules in our bloodstreams” according to a recent Atlantic Cities article.
For the past eight years, Qing Li, an immunologist in the department of hygiene and public health at the Nippon Medical School, has been studying phytoncides, the essential oils and aerosols emitted by plants and trees, and their salutary effects on the human body. Li suspected the positive physiological effects of being in nature weren’t only visual–i.e. looking at a forest or creek or whatever–but also olfactory.
To test his theory, he stuck subjects in a hotel room (probably the most unnatural environment imaginable); one group had cypress aromatherapy and the other without. The group with “experienced significant drops in stress hormones and boosted immune cell activity”.
Since Li’s initial studies using phytoncide therapy and other facets of “forest bathing” to boost health, the Finns — led by Liisa Tyrväinen, the Finnish Forest Research Institute are conducting a multi-year research program on forests and human well-being. The South Koreans are opening a new $140 million National Forest Therapy Center in 2014. The wisdom is old: get outside when you can; when you’re stressed, aromatherapy can help. But now the hard science is finally backing
What does this all have to do with Manhattan apartments for rent, or apartments for rent in Queens? Well, living in New York City has many benefits–culture, great transportation, walking, etc., but it can also be pretty assaultive on our senses. Nothing replaces time in nature, but a few small steps such as adding an essential oil diffuser with cypress or lavender oil (we suspect Febreeze and Glade Plugins won’t produce the same benefits) to your home might make a huge difference in offsetting some of the stressors inherent in living in New York City apartments.