Is there a benefit of using biofeedback to guide your breathing? And can breathing in essential oils really lead to better relaxation? This is what science says.
January 11th, 2023,
5 min read
‘But what does science say?’ It’s a question we ask ourselves at moonbird every day. Especially our postdoctoral researcher, Elisabeth Honinx, as it’s her focus to investigate and gather scientific grounding for everything that we do at moonbird.
Elisabeth continuously assembles the most interesting studies on breathing and related topics. Here, we’d like to give you a monthly overview of the latest research, news, and developments in the World of Breathing. Be inspired.
A recent study looked at the effectiveness of using a combination of biofeedback (a technique that uses information about a person's body functions to help them learn how to control them) and virtual reality (VR) for managing stress. The study included 39 healthy volunteers who participated in a 12-minute breathing session. Participants received instructions to breathe via a VR headset that showed changing waves (a line going up and down) and visual instructions (“inhale/exhale”) to guide their breathing. The study found that after just one session, there were significant improvements in the participants' stress levels, as measured by changes in their cortisol levels (a hormone related to stress), heart and respiratory rate, and skin conductance. The study also found that the participants reported feeling less fatigue, strain, and negative mood after the session.
After just one session, there were significant improvements in the participants' stress levels.
Conclusion - The authors of the study suggest that using biofeedback, via virtual reality, might be an effective way to help manage stress in the future.
Source: Behav Sci
The following study investigated the effects of breathing in essential oils from two different plants, pine (P. menziesii) and lavender (L. angustifolia), on older adults during a creative activity . A total of 92 older adults (average age of 71.2) participated in the study and were guided through a creative activity of leaf printing while water vapor and essential oils were diffused in the room. The study measured various physiological parameters such as heart rate variability and brain waves, as well as participants' levels of anxiety before and after the activity. The results showed that breathing in both essential oils had a relaxing effect on the older adults, as indicated by changes in physiological parameters such as heart rate variability and brain waves. Additionally, participants reported lower levels of anxiety after the activity.
Breathing in essential oils has a relaxing effect and lowers anxiety
Conclusion - The study suggests that performing a relaxing indoor activity while breathing in essential oils could be a beneficial way to promote physical and mental health (in older adults).
Source: Int J Environ Res Public Health.
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