We can live without food for weeks, water for days and air for only a few minutes at most.

We take about 25,000 breaths each day, more if exercising and most of those are completely unconscious. Our body (thankfully) does it automatically.

Each breath provides us with necessary oxygen as we breathe in and carries away unwanted CO2 (and other by-products of metabolism) as we exhale. Energizing and cleaning with every breath.

The quality of the air we breathe has a huge affect on our health. Scientists now say that poor air quality as a greater negative impact on health than smoking cigarettes! So what can we do to improve the air we breathe?

Outdoor air-quality is a big topic and mostly beyond the scope of this blog post but I will say that keeping the larger sphere (the planet and its other inhabitants) in mind is a extremely important. We need this planet to survive and the healthier our environment, the healthier we humans will be.

Indoor air quality is also vitally important to our health and is somewhat more manageable both in thought and action. So here are some practical things you can do at home and work to clean up the air you breathe.

#1: Dump the perfume, parfum and fragrance from your life: artificially produced fragrances are made from petroleum products. They are strong endocrine disruptors that can have long-term effects on how our body regulates hormones including thyroid and female hormones. They are also irritants that can cause allergic reactions in sinuses and respiratory passages and on the skin. PRODUCTS: laundry soap, hand soap, dryer sheets, fabric softener, room sprays, fragrance plug-ins, scented candles, fabric sprays, perfume, shampoo, body wash, body spray – you get the idea. Read the label. If it says perfume, parfum or fragrance chuck it and replace it with a natural version that contains only real essential oils!

#2: Clean the vents: if you have forced air heating of any kind, have the vents cleaned annually. Dust and mold spores can hang out in the vents all Summer and in Winter when you turn on your heat the entire house gets blasted with allergens.

#3: Clean the mold: keep an eye out for mold on windowsills, in the basement, ceilings, crawl spaces and any where else mold can hide. Mold spores can cause or worsen chronic illness by overwhelming the body’s ability to fight off invaders.

#4: Air purifier: if you or anyone in your family is sensitive or allergic then an air purifier can help reduce the allergens in the air. There are many options to choose from so be sure to read the specifications before buying.

#5: Open doors & windows: let fresh outside air in as often as possible. This is hard in the Winter if you live in a snowy place but even a few minutes of open air will help to freshen your house and decrease the build-up of toxins that can happen in closed spaces.

#6: Fresh air at work: if you have windows that open at work, then open them as often as you can. If you work in a sealed office building try to get out at least once a day and breathe some fresh air. Avoid sitting right next to or under a vent. Vents carry viruses, dust and toxins from other parts of the building, so give yourself space if possible.

#7: Humidifiers & Diffusers: essential oils are a great way to freshen and clean indoor air. Essential oils like eucalyptus, pine, thyme, lavender and fir have antiviral properties and can help limit cold and flu germs in the air. When added to a cool mist humidifier or a diffuser, they also enter into the lungs and sinuses when we breathe, killing germs, uplifting our spirits and moistening dry tissues. Small diffusers can be kept on your desk at work and larger cool mist humidifiers are great for bedrooms and living rooms at home.

Air is vitally important to our health yet because it is ubiquitous and breathing is automatic we forget that air can be dirty and harmful too. Take a few simple steps and clean the air so your whole body can breathe better!

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