The Case For Keeping A Pine-Scented Item In Your Office
Aromatherapists rejoice: There's now hard evidence showing that being exposed to the scent of nature -- specifically trees and plants -- is almost as good for the body as being outside.
What's the Latest Development?
In studies on tree and plant essential oils -- also known as phytoncides -- scientists at Tokyo-based Nippon Medical School discovered that when they put test subjects in hotel rooms with and without cypress aromatherapy, those exposed to the aroma experienced the same positive physical effects as subjects documented in prior studies who walked through wooded areas. Their results led to the creation of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine, which held its first international symposium last year.
What's the Big Idea?
It's long been known that walks in nature work to reduce stress levels and improve immune functions, but the idea that forest therapy administered in a non-forest setting could achieve similar results was not made credible until recently. Evidence is also building around the health benefits of simply looking at photos of nature. Now, in addition to Japan, other countries are launching ambitious health projects around forest therapy: "[T]he Finnish Forest Research Institute is conducting a multi-year research program on forests and human well-being [and South Korea is] opening a new $140 million National Forest Therapy Center in 2014."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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