THE SCIENCE BEHIND MYRELEAF

The Science Behind myReLeaf

When we are anxious or feel stress, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, and as a result, our breathing rate increases [1] ; specifically, the duration of our exhalation becomes shorter [2] . A few symptoms caused by the high breathing rate are:

  1. Increase in the sense of threat [1]
  2. Increase in the cortical and limbic activity in our brain (which manifests as increased arousal/alertness) [1]
  3. Decrease in PCO2 level (caused by hyperventilation), which may lead to several physical symptoms, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, tingling in the hands or feet, accelerated heart rate, and nausea [3]
  4. The decreased PCO2 level can also lead to several cognitive symptoms, such as low concentration levels, fatigue, “unreal” feeling, fear of madness, and poor cognitive performance [4]

myReLeaf is based on a synergy of two established methods: exhalation prolongation and aromatherapy.


Exhalation Prolongation

Scientific research has shown exhalation prolongation:

  1. Decreases distress feeling [2] and induces relaxation [5,6,7]
  2. Balances the PCO2 level, which is responsible for many symptoms related to distress as detailed above
  3. Decreases the physiological symptoms of alertness [arousal] [8]

Aromatherapy

Our sense of smell has a unique relationship with our brain’s emotional system (see box). Lavender, which is the dominant scent in the aromatherapy element of myReLeaf, was shown to:

  1. Decrease sympathetic activity [9]
  2. Reduce physiological stress measures that indicate objective reduction of stress level [10]
  3. Elicit relaxation and increase performance [11]


myReLeaf

As seen from the above, the accumulated effect of the two methods- exhalation prolongation and aromatherapy- addresses many distress related symptoms. This helps attain calmness quickly and effectively.

The combination of these two methods in one device, which can be easily used during the moment of distress and is adaptive to the user’s performance, grants myReLeaf its uniqueness.

Smell Sense and Aromatherapy

Aromas have been used throughout history for their medicinal and mood-altering properties. Aroma molecules have diverse effects on human behavior and physiology, ranging from activation of memories to change in mood or emotional state and even to a change in brain activity measured by EEG [11] . This is often attributed to the close connection between the olfactory system (sense of smell) and the limbic system (the brain network associated with emotions and memories [12] ). Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of aromatic essential oils to promote a required psychological and physiological state. The essential oils involved in aromatherapy are highly concentrated essence, extracted from plants through the process of distillation.

References

  1. Hugdahl, K. (1995). Psychophysiology: The mind-body perspective. Harvard University Press.
  2. Masaoka, Y., & Homma, I. (1999). Expiratory time determined by individual anxiety levels in humans. Journal of applied physiology, 86(4), 1329-1336
  3. Gabrieli, N. (2001). Respiratory system physiology. Oneg Carmel, Haifa
  4. Lum, L. C. (1981). Hyperventilation and anxiety state. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 74, 1-4
  5. Benson, H. (1975). The relaxation response. New York: Avon
  6. Schwartz, M. S. (1995). Biofeedback: A practioner's guide. Guilford Press: NY
  7. MacHose, M., & Peper, E. (1991). The effects of clothing on inhalation volume. Bio-feedback and Self-Regulation, 16(3). 261-265
  8. McCaul, K., D., Solomon S., & Holme D.,S.(1979). Effects of Paced Respiration and Expectations on Physiological and Psychological Responses to Threat
  9. Saeki, Y., & Shiohara, M., (2001). Physiological effects of inhaling fragrances
  10. Toda, M., & Morimoto, K., (2008). Effect of lavender aroma on salivary endocrino-logical stress markers
  11. Diego, M., A., Jones, N., A., Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., McAdam, V., Galamaga R., & Galamaga M.(1998). Aromatherapy positively affects mood, EEG patterns of alertness and math computations
  12. Zald D.,H., & Pardo J., V., (1997): Emotion, Olfaction and the human amygdala

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