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  • 11 Dec 2019 11:01 PM | Deleted user


    Sure, it may be the fresh crisp air that fills our lungs and offers a release to polluted air that invades our living spaces from big cities to small towns all around the world. 

    But why do we feel that way? Is there more to it than meets the senses?

    New scientific research is starting to emerge backing the restorative and healing benefits of being in nature. 

    In Japan, a walk in the forest is commonly prescribed as preventative health care. “Shinrinyoku” as it is referred to in Japanese literally translates as “forest bathing” or “taking in the atmosphere of the forest.” This practice promotes walking and spending time in the forest as a way to improve overall health and has been embraced as a nature therapy in other cultures as well. It is said to have numerous physiological (1) and psychological (2) benefits.

    A forest’s capacity to exhibit healing properties comes from the evergreen trees ability to release phytoncides(3), or naturally produced allelochemic substances, that act like pheromones.  Pheromones present as external hormones capable of impacting the behaviour of individuals on the receiving end. In nature, these chemicals repel insects and slow the growth of bacteria and fungi. However, human exposure to phytoncides are scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost anti-cancer white blood cell count. These phytoncides are commonly found in potent aromatic plants like garlic, onion, oak, pine, and tea tree. 



    Forest bathing seems to be beneficial as it reduces, stress, the root cause of a variety of physical ailments including but not limited to: high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis. This is because the practice of forest bathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which prompts rest and energy conservation. It also reduces cortisol levels (4) and other stress hormones associated with anxiety, heart disease, weight gain and memory impairment. 

    A study found that forest walks (5) compared to urban walks showed a 12.4% decrease in cortisol, a 7% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, and a 1.4% decrease in blood pressure 


    Stress compromises the immune system by supressing the naturally produced antiviral killer (NK) cells in the body. However, since forest bathing reduces stress hormone levels it consequently impacts the immune system in a positive manner by increasing the natural killer cell (6) count and expresses anti-cancer proteins. 


    Being in nature provides increased awareness and grounding qualities that can lead to a state of relaxation. This has proven to be most helpful for those suffering from anxiety or depression (7) .  “Forest bathing” can also increase concentration, creativity, liveliness, and vigour.  

    How to:  

    • Get to your nearest forest or park
    • Turn off your phone
    • Wander at a slow pace, without direction for around 2 hours (but don’t get lost)
    • Stop and take in the atmosphere and aromas of the forest
    • Touch the trees, streams and soil
    • Allow for silence
    • Be present
    • ***Watch out for poisonous plants, berries, and herbs

  • 27 Nov 2019 12:21 PM | Deleted user

  • 11 Oct 2019 2:28 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2019. Are you a freelancer or sole proprietor looking for health insurance on or off the exchange? SoleVenture members have immediate access to health, dental, vision, and limited medical plans. We believe access to healthcare is a fundamental right. Although its only one part of our business, it’s often the most critical for our members. Membership dues are waived through December 15, 2019 for open enrollment.

    Who are we? SoleVenture is the back-office support for the company of one. The SoleVenture platform provides the infrastructure needed to build and grow your business from formation, tax setup, and business insurances to the personal benefits of traditional employment, including health, dental, vision, and limited medical plans. Through SoleVenture’s strategic partnerships, we offer our members access to affordable, quality health insurance and ancillary insurance products nationwide. We are incorporating additional traditional employment benefits, such as vacation, tax savings, and retirement accounts in the coming months. Learn more and join today at

  • 02 Oct 2019 12:49 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    USF World First Annual Women's Empowerment Conference: Oct 10, 2019 - 8:45am - 5pm.

    Nine prominent scholars, including U.S. Representative Kathy Castor and Dr. Cheyenne Currall, will discuss the role of women in governance in China, Russia, U.S., Iran, Pakistan, Israel, and Latin America. The audience will have a chance to ask questions following every presentation.

    Conference details, sponsorship, and exhibit table information can be found attached and in the graphic below.

    To RSVP for this free exciting conference, please visit

  • 30 Sep 2019 4:06 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Stress and anxiety from daily matters can wreak havoc on the body. The constant “always on the go” mentality found in modern American society often overlooks one simple yet extremely effective technique to settle the mind. This method is free, accessible anywhere, anytime, and offers an alternative to pharmaceutical medications.

    That is the power of the breath.

    Breathe is vital. It is what keeps us alive, our heart pumping, and our blood circulating.  It is what brings us back to the present moment.

    By focusing on the breath it enables the mind to clear itself of distractions, provide a greater ability to remain calm in crisis (1), aid in decision making (2), and express stronger interconnectivity (3) among all life forces. Through mindful breathing, the body is able to obtain significant mental and physical health benefits.

    This may already sound familiar to you as these ancient eastern practices become widely popularized and integrated into western culture through various mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Each of these meditative techniques allows one to slow their brain waves, decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure, and tap into their unconscious mind.

    But how exactly does it work?

    Within each breath is a respiratory biofeedback loop between the heart and lungs that determines either the activation of your ‘flight-or-fight’ response or your ‘rest-and-digest’ response.

    The inhale and exhale function of the breathing process (4) activates different parts of the nervous system.  During the inhalation portion, blood is drawn to the lungs from the heart causing the body to overexert itself in order to pump blood throughout the rest of the body. As a result, the heart beat accelerates and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated. The SNS initiates the ‘fight-or-flight’ response which pumps adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones that fuel anxiety. These stress hormones alter the body by slowing metabolism and increasing blood pressure and heart rate. On the other hand, blood returns from the lungs to the body during the exhalation portion stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which acts as a biological break allowing your body to ‘rest-and-digest’. This aspect of the PNS, also referred to as respiratory vagus nerve stimulation (rVNS) (5) counteracts the fight-or-flight response by calming the autonomic nervous system and improving heart rate variability (HRV).

    The inhalation/exhalation ratio that occurs within each breath cycle plays a crucial role in heart regulation and overall health.  The fluctuation of the beat-to-beat intervals of a heart rate is known as heart rate variability (HRV) (6). It has been found that higher HRV is associated with lower chronic stress levels, improved cognition, and better overall health.  It is also a means to index the vigour of vagus nerve responses and vagal tone (VT).

    The Vagus Nerve

    The vagus nerve (7) is the longest nerve in the human body with multiple branches beginning at the brainstem and extending through just about every major organ in a wandering route down to the lowest intestines.  It is the communicative channel that sends messages between the mind, brain, and gut. The vagus nerve is responsible for the calming effect of intentional breathing methods and explains the efficacy of the effects of contemplative practices on health and cognition.

    During each exhalation, the vagus nerve releases the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine (Ach) into the bloodstream. This neurotransmitter was first discovered by German Nobel-Prize winning physiologist, Otto Loewi, in 1921. At the time, it was referred to as vagusstoff (or vagus substance). Heart rate variability (HRV) was able to effectively measure that once this vagusstoff was released, heart rate intervals instantly decreased, and the nervous system calmed. This is what is referred to as the “relaxation response.”

    The Relaxation Response

    One of the most effective and easiest ways to calm your mind and body is to activate this ‘relaxation response’ (8). The relaxation response can improve hypertension, insomnia, PMS, symptoms of menopause, pain, infertility, and cardiac arrythmias. It consists of two basic steps found in various meditative practices worldwide. The first step is through the repetition of either sound, words, prayer, phrase, or movement. The second involves the passivity of daily thoughts or distractions meaning to recognize any thoughts that may arise and let them pass through just as they had come.

    Breathing Practices

    One widely popular yogic breathing (pranayama) practice is diaphragmatic breathing (9) or deep breathing. This type of breathing switches the constriction of the breath from the throat to the diaphragm, located between the thoracic and abdominal cavities. In this type of breathing, air enters the lungs and the belly expands rather than the chest. This type of breathing is beneficial (10) as it lowers the effects of stress hormones like cortisol, lowers hearth rate and blood pressure, decreases oxygen demand, and strengthens the diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing can even be used as a coping mechanism for people with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (11).

    The 1:2 Inhale/ Exhale Ratio

    Since acetylcholine (Ach) is released during the exhale, one way to ensure more vagus substance is released is to make your exhale slow and longer than your inhale. This slows your heart rate allowing your body more time for self-regulation and the ability to maintain homeostasis. The exhalation also releases toxins like carbon dioxide and any stale air that no longer serves you.

    A simple way to keep count on inhalations and exhalations is to use the 1:2 ratio. Along with diaphragmatic breathing, inhale through the nose a set number of seconds. Then, purse your lips as you would blow a whistle and double the inhale count for your exhale. So, if the inhale is for three seconds then the exhale should be 6 seconds, if the inhale is 4 seconds then exhale for 8 seconds and so on and so forth.


    These types of breathing exercises can be practiced on your own time just about anywhere. Even just a few slow conscious breaths can show significant improvement in overall health and cognition. Mindful breathing can not only bring pure awareness back to the present moment, but also to our own feeling and physical being. It can balance emotions, heighten awareness and intuition, and provide patience whilst improving concentration. Research suggests that this kind of breathing can even make you wiser (12) and live a longer more grounded life.

    So, the next time stress or anxiety comes up just take a moment to breathe and exhale it all away.

  • 27 Sep 2019 8:32 AM | Working Women (Administrator)

  • 20 Aug 2019 5:32 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

    Join Florida Medical Clinic for their Open House Tuesday, September 3rd at 6:30 to learn about their upcoming complete wellness program. Every one is welcome to attend!

    WWOTB members will also receive a $50 discount to attend the clinic's 12 week Complete Wellness Transformation Program! Call or email Kelly Matthew to register and mention the WWOTB discount. 

    Kelly Matthew

    813-780-8774 x24042

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