Welcome to the Deeper Health blog! For my blog launch, I wanted to share my glorious experience from a trip to Japan. My son decided to attend college in Japan, and I felt compelled to go with him, like most parents do, to attend orientation and get him settled. It was the most amazing trip for me, given that I’ve read and researched so much about the great contributions of Japanese doctors and researchers in holistic medicine. And I’m happy to say my son very much enjoyed living in Japan for his first 2 years of college.
Japan’s Indigenous Gems
In addition to the absolute beauty of its land and waters, Japan is home to various indigenous plants and flowers from which numerous herbal and homeopathic remedies are made and used worldwide:
- The Hinoki tree (Japanese Cypress) is an ancient tree that still exists today; its many benefits include preventing mold, controlling humidity, and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
- Magnolia Officinalis flower has been well researched, and the results of one study reported by the NCBI states that the bark of this flower is effective in reducing stress and anxiety in pre-menopausal women. In several other studies on mice it was shown to be very effective in treating anxiety; Magnolia Officinalis’ effectiveness was compared to Diazepam and it had the same anxiety reduction benefits without any side effects.
The Powerful Benefits of Onsens
What struck me most about Japanese culture is their ability to manage stress. They experience stress in their daily lives, like we all do, BUT they know how to de-stress, which is key to good health and longevity. They take full advantage of the unique natural remedies their landscape blesses them with. One way they do this is by regularly soaking in hot springs, known as Onsens, which are ancient springs of water formed from heat and natural gasses of volcanic magma.
They are still very popular today, and most hotels and spas have these indoors as an amenity (although the indoor Onsens are man made). I took full advantage of this at my hotel daily, and upon soaking in the Onsen, I immediately felt the tension in my neck and lower back disappear. I didn’t even have jet lag (which is absolutely incredible considering the time difference of 13 hours that I lost when landing in Japan) and slept like a baby every night—the bamboo stuffed pillow helped too!
Onsens contain a multitude of vital, life sustaining minerals, which are the spark-plugs of life, from the earth’s crust that form from the magma after the rocks are cooled, and provide a wealth of health related benefits. Here’s a few examples:
Sulfur: helps reduce blood pressure and relieves symptoms of arthritis
Magnesium: relieves pain and headaches, improves Calcium absorption
Carbon Dioxide: improves fertility, circulation, boosts metabolism
Sodium Bicarbonate: alleviates muscle stiffness, fatigue, and chronic eczema
Acidity Content: helps treat severe skin problems and diabetes
Dangers of Chronic, Long-Term Stress
In our world today, the rise of chronic stress elevates steroidal hormones, mainly cortisol and adrenaline, which has devastating effects, particularly on cognition, mood, sleep, and the endocrine system. New research from the Journal of Neural Plasticity shows the results of chronic stress, and there’s growing evidence that links Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease with prolonged, high stress levels. It’s clear that chronic stress is a pre-cursor to disease, so it’s crucial that we find ways to reduce the impact of our body’s stress response, particularly with managing cortisol and adrenaline levels that have a direct impact on the body’s seven metabolic systems.
Stress Reduction Suggestions
Like the Japanese, we must incorporate daily stress reduction techniques if we want to live healthy lives and age well. A simple but very effective alternative to Onsens: turn your bathtub into a “hot” tub—fill with water at a temperature of 80-85 degrees. In addition to the heat of the water, by adding 5-7 drops of doTerra essential oil of Lavender (or Serenity blend) and 2 cups of Epsom Salt, you will effectively reduce your body’s stress response by lowering cortisol AND aid in Phase 1 liver detoxification due to the high magnesium content in the Epsom Salt.
Japan is home to the most centenarians in the entire world, and there’s a purity that exists there unlike anyplace I’ve ever experienced. Given their culture and lifestyles, their use of natural supplements, healthy diets consisting of an abundance of exotic vegetables, and their routine practice of stress reduction, it’s no wonder so many live to 100 years old and beyond!