Summary: Deep breaths can help alleviate tension, and doTERRA Breathe® can help with feelings of clear breathing as winter transitions to spring.
Spring is just around the corner, causing snow to melt and bringing a new burst of life. After months of dreary winter days and seasonal smog, it’s hard to resist taking a deep breath of that fresh spring air, scented with hints of rain, blossoms, and soil. This spring air, beautifully complemented by the doTERRA Breathe® Respiratory Blend, does wonders for respiratory health. Deep breaths may even feel therapeutic, and for a good, scientific reason.
A Sigh of Relief
To many people, winter can often be associated with feelings of negativity. That deep breath you take at the onset of spring can literally be a “sigh of relief” as the world transitions to a less aversive state. Let’s take a look at why.
Physiologically speaking, distinct and deep breaths are more commonly referred to as sighs. Sighing may be spurred by a number of factors. Researchers have found in clinical studies that sigh rates go up when people are in states of high arousal and/or negative emotion, such as when viewing imagery of fear or depression1. Excessive sighing has also been noted in people who experience anxiety and anxiety-related disorders2. It turns out that sighing is actually also a marker of relief, caused by the conclusion or interruption of a negative emotional state, hence the term “sigh of relief.” Sighing rates can also increase at the end of a negative emotional experience, such as tension, restlessness, or stress.
It’s clear that sighing serves two purposes: a signal of both emotional distress and emotional relief. What is the true function of sighing if it occurs during two completely opposite mental states? Researchers in Belgium have proposed an interesting answer to this question. They suggest that sighing serves as a psychophysiological “resetter” and restores homeostasis as negative emotions and experiences can compromise homeostatic balance. These researchers suggested that sighs are actually reinforced behaviors. Because sighs can facilitate relief in times of distress, our brains strategically increase sighing while negative events or emotions are taking place. To test their theory of the psychophysiological “resetter,” the researchers conducted a breathing study in stress-sensitive individuals. They found that sighs caused physiological relief, such as a decrease in muscle tension, within five seconds; this near-immediate relief is probably why sighing is a reinforced behavior. Because relief is so quick, we’re much more likely to sigh during future moments of distress3.
doTERRA Breathe® can help promote feelings of clear airways and easy breathing. doTERRA Breathe is a blend of different essential oils thought to confer these benefits, including essential oils from Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, Peppermint Plant, Melaleuca Leaf, Lemon Peel, Cardamom Seed, Ravintsara Leaf, and Ravensara Leaf. For example, Laurel Leaf and Eucalyptus oil support feelings of clear airways due to their high content of the constituent 1,8-cineole. Peppermint oil is high in menthol, which is known to have soothing properties on the respiratory system4-11. From what we’ve learned about the benefits of deep breathing, doTERRA Breathe is a wonderful oil blend to pair with this practice. Consider diffusing or inhaling doTERRA Breathe while you’re taking deep breaths to promote feelings of respiratory health and psychophysiological relief simultaneously.
Springtime and the clean air it brings naturally encourage some behavioral shifts, like spring cleaning, outdoor activities, and deep breathing. Spend some time outside this spring and take a deep “sigh of relief” as winter melts away. Be sure to keep a bottle of doTERRA Breathe and TriEase® softgels handy to help with seasonal changes and transitions.