Stress and the Mighty Trio: Immunity, Mental Clarity and Mobility

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”1

When working properly, the stress response protects us and allows us to stay focused and alert. For example, to avoid a car accident, we might slam on the brakes as our stress response. In this way, stress is a positive part of our lives.

Too much stress, however, can cause major damage to our bodies and minds—not only to health, but also to mood, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. Stress can definitely put a damper on the pursuit of an Active Wellness lifestyle.

The varying levels of stress can be likened to a spectrum. At one end is “eustress,” the manageable levels of stress that help tackle challenges at work, school, or in relationships. Eustress does not necessarily feel comfortable, but it is useful and can help us succeed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is “distress.” This is the type of stress that is destructive—it disrupts sleep and creates undesired tension, mood disorders and a negative outlook. Distress can occur when we are too busy at work, owe money, are grieving or suffering any type of painful loss.

Our personalities and perspectives on how we work, compete or play can affect whether stress takes the form of eustress or distress. For example, if there is a looming deadline and it worries or overwhelms us, we are going to experience distress. If that same deadline creates a sense of excitement about the ensuing outcome, we would experience eustress. We therefore are somewhat in control of the stress we live with, but we cannot foresee the future or the unknown.

When we get stressed out frequently, the body exists in a heightened state of anxiety most of the time. That can lead to serious health problems, since chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in the body and its functions. It can suppress the immune system, upset the digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.2

Chronic stress occurs because stress is sneaky. It can creep up on us and we get so used to feeling stressed out that we don’t even notice its ill effects until they manifest in disturbing ways. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms that chronic stress can cause.

The three main areas that stress impacts are immunity, mental clarity and mobility. We need a strong immune system to fight disease, but stress weakens the body’s defenses. Stress can reduce the number of natural killer cells or lymphocytes in the body, which are needed to fight viruses, according to the American Psychological Association. It makes us catch colds or the flu more easily, for example.

Chronic stress can produce higher-than-normal levels of the hormone cortisol. This can hamper the body’s anti-inflammatory response and cause continual infections, according to recent immunology research studies.3

Issues with mental clarity include memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgment, persistent anxiety, runaway thoughts, constant worrying, moodiness, irritability and depression.

Mobility is affected when stress causes pain, tightness, soreness or spasms in the muscles. According to the American Psychological Association, muscles tense up during stress. When the stress is gone, the muscles then relax and release the built-up tension.

Other physical symptoms include skin breakouts, irregular heartbeats, fluctuating weight, trouble sleeping, indigestion and other digestive issues. If inflammation is persistent and widespread, it can contribute to chronic diseases, including the buildup of plaque on the arterial walls. This is just one of the many factors at play in the complex relationship between stress and the heart.  Stress is related to heart rhythm abnormalities, high blood pressure, stroke and asthma. Lung conditions include shortness of breath and rapid breathing.

Knowing our stress triggers can help us deal with them more effectively. Here are a few ways to cope with stress:

Exercise: Regular exercise is known to improve moods and relieve stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially when focusing attention on the physical sensations of each movement.

Make human contact: In this day and age of electronic devices, we often spend more time with screens than with people. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress. Even a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe the nervous system.

Use the senses: Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. The key is to find the sensory input that works best for each individual. Does listening to an uplifting song produce calmness? Is the scent of a favorite flower soothing? Research has shown that the act of petting a dog or cat not only comforts the animal, but also the human.  Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so finding the best use of any of the five senses can be a fun experiment.

Relax. Some people are good at letting go of stress at the end of the day and can relax. Others need to consciously practice the art of relaxation. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities can help reduce everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity. They also may increase the ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Eat healthy food. “You are what you eat” doesn’t need to be taken literally, but it holds truth. Food can improve or worsen moods and affect how we cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help us cope with life’s ups and downs.

Get enough sleep. Feeling tired can magnify stress. Getting restful sleep can be tricky because chronic stress can disrupt sleep. Making the sleep environment as comfortable as possible and adhering to a sleep cycle that allows for 6-8 hours can be helpful.

The pursuit of Active Wellness includes finding adequate ways to cope with stress. At Nikken, we have three nutritionals that may help in the “mighty trio”: Kenzen® Immunity, Clarity and Joint. From now until March 23, 2023, each purchase of a PiMag Waterfall® will be accompanied by a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Immunity; each purchase of a KenkoAir Purifier® will have a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Clarity; and each purchase of a Kenko Sleep Pack will contain a bonus bottle of Kenzen® Joint.

1, 2  https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes

3, 4  https://health.umms.org/2020/11/10/stress-immune-system/

A Healthy Start for 2023

Wipe the slate clean each day! In life, we begin every day anew, but somehow the start of each year is when many of us decide to make resolutions or set goals. The reality is that without good health, we cannot do anything else, so total body wellness has to be an annual goal in one way or another.

We all know the ABCs for good health: restful sleep, clean air, fresh water, nourishing nutrition, adequate exercise and refraining from smoking, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages and overusing medications and other addictive substances. All of this can be achieved, but consistency is the key. If we “fall off the wagon” in any area, wipe the slate clean, don’t beat yourself up and start fresh the next day.

Here are half a dozen things that may help make 2023 our healthiest ever:

1.         Pay attention to how your body feels. Are you constantly tired? Do you wake up in the morning feeling as if you never even slept? Commit to making changes, so that you have energy. It’s simple to say, “get enough sleep,” but so many of us don’t. It may require going to bed earlier or later than what you are currently doing. Striving for eight hours is fine, but be content to start with six or seven restful hours. Quality sleep not only makes us feel energized, but it also helps manage weight and cardiovascular health. Adequate sleep even helps us to think more clearly and accomplish daily tasks.

2.         Reach out to someone you care about but haven’t been in touch with regularly. Even if you don’t continue to reconnect consistently, you may be surprised what happens as a result of a simple phone call or “miss you” card in the mail. Remember that mental health is as important as physical health, and staying in touch with those we care about gives us a boost in multiple ways.

3.         We often forget to check important areas of our bodies, as many of us avoid going to the health practitioner unless we actually feel ill. This year, vow to get eyes, ears and teeth checked. Letting these three areas go untended can lead to problems down the road.

4.         Set aside time to read. Reading has different effects on our brains. Although studies largely focus on children, it is reasonable to believe reading vs. screen time has similar effects on adults. A 2020 study of 47 healthy children, aged three to five, found those who spent more than an hour daily on screens performed worse on cognitive tests than those who frequently read books with their parents or caregivers.1 Whereas screen time may produce a hypnotic effect, reading triggers thought. Regardless of age, retention of information and cognitive reasoning are precious.

5.         Make a conscious effort to be kinder to yourself. Sometimes we are kind to everyone else but we tend to be our own worst critics. The effect of being kind to ourselves has big health ramifications, all good ones! We really can help ourselves be happier!

6.         Weight loss is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions. It is also one that quickly fails and can even lead to depression. One alternative healthy habit to pursue is to simply ditch the sodas. Diet sodas with artificial sweeteners are even worse than the high-calorie sugary ones, because the chemicals added for flavoring may actually be health hazards.2 It’s not as big of a change as going on a special diet; it’s eliminating one item, but the positive results can be inspiring.

Nikken is committed to helping our Global Wellness Community live a healthy lifestyle, and our products reflect that. We are proud of our PiMag® water filters, Kenko Sleep System, KenkoAir Purifier®, Kenzen® nutritionals and True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care as well as our vast array of magnetic support products. These products give you the power to take your health into your own hands, to sleep well, eat and drink well, breathe easily and obtain optimal hydration. They enable you to maintain the healthy lifestyle that gives you energy and ultimately, more joy.

1 https://sparktutoringservices.com/reading-time-vs-screen-time/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198517/

Healthy Routines Create Active Wellness

Routines help us. They provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. So, when we want to live a healthy lifestyle of Active Wellness, the easiest way is to create a comfortable routine that we can stick to.

Look at children and dogs, for example. They thrive on routine. Same time to get up, to go to school (or go for a walk if it’s the dog), to have meals, to go to bed. Switching it up can feel disruptive to them, so ideally, their routines are healthy to begin with!There are five main goals to keep in mind as we create our healthy routines:

Grownups are not so different: when we establish a healthy routine, the body and mind get into a nice rhythm. The trick is to make your healthy routine do-able. You can change your routine, bit by bit if you want to make further improvements, but the basic parts of a healthy regimen revolve around eating and drinking right, getting enough sleep, exercising consistently, breathing fresh air and being conscious of our thoughts. That really means we need to pay attention to our mental state as well as our physical condition. There are five main goals to keep in mind as we create our healthy routines:

  1. Better Immunity: A robust immune system not only helps us function at a high level, but it also helps us prevent illness and recover more quickly if we do contract something. A nutrient-dense diet, plenty of restful sleep, exercise and a clear mind all help to boost immunity.
  2. Improve Mood: Happiness. It’s what we all want and it begins with a good mood. It improves our confidence levels and even helps our social lives. A good mood works hand-in-hand with a positive can-do attitude. Foods high in antioxidants and minerals have been shown to help fight depression and exercise is known to get our feel-good endorphins in motion. Drinking water throughout the day also keeps us happy: no one is in a good mood when they’re feeling thirsty.
  3. Boost Energy: Everyone wants to feel energetic and with our modern hectic lifestyles, we can all use more! The busier we are, the more prone we might be to skipping meals or eating not-so-healthy fast foods. The best ways to boost energy levels are to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and stay on a sleep schedule. Fad diets are not helpful over the long run to keep energy at high levels.
  4. Prevent Sickness: Regardless of our genetic makeup, it’s best to prevent sickness rather than deal with it. Knowing your family history can be helpful, as some issues are hereditary. For example, some people may have high cholesterol because both their parents do. Regardless of genetics, staying with the basics of eating lots of vegetables/fruit, breathing fresh air, staying active daily and getting enough rest can be a great formula for maintaining flexible joints, a healthy heart and weight, balanced blood sugar levels and clear thinking.
  5. Longevity: Living a long life has been a goal of people around the world. But living long without good health is not so desirable. Once again, the key is to stay healthy with a proper diet and healthy routine. In other words, create healthy habits, stay with them year after year, and that will up your chances of living to a pleasant old age.

So much of an Active Wellness lifestyle depends on what we grow up with, so it’s up to us to educate our youngsters. Not only can we practice what we preach, but we can role model it. What might be an area we have to improve in our own lifestyles, can be something the next generations start out with: breathing fresh air, eating an abundance of vegetables and fruit, exercising daily, drinking water rather than sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, sleeping on a healthy schedule and thinking positive thoughts.

At Nikken, we provide solutions: Kenzen organic nutrition, PiMag® filtered alkaline water, KenkoAir Purifier®, Kenko Sleep System, KenkoGround® and so many magnetic massage and support products. They’re all part of a Wellness Home!

See You Next Year, Summer! Hello, Autumn!

What happens to our sleep patterns when we move from the summer months into autumn? In Europe and North America, this transition has already started as we approach the end of September.

During the summer, sunlight continues into the evening hours and the feeling of night feels delayed. That’s why it may be so difficult to get children to sleep at their regular bedtimes during the summer months! As daylight hours shorten, it may become easier to get the small ones to sleep but actually harder for adults to get their needed rest. The reason for this is our exposure to vitamin D decreases in the autumn months.

Our bodies actually manufacture vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important in the production of melatonin, which helps us regulate our circadian rhythms and promotes restful sleep. During the autumn months, there are fewer sunlit hours so our bodies may produce less melatonin. One way to overcome this possible shortage is to make sure to spend time outside, even as the weather cools down. In other words, make sure to get sun exposure!

Depending on personal preferences, some people may find it difficult to exercise when summer heat is at its highest. Autumn may well be the perfect outdoor climate for those who stayed in air-conditioned rooms all summer long! Getting a good dose of outdoor exercise—even in cloudy weather—helps obtain the sun exposure (you can get sunburned even when it’s cloudy!) and the sleep benefits that come along with a well worked-out body. And, exercise is known to decrease anxiety and stress, all of which help promote a good night’s sleep.

One proviso about exercise is not to work out too close to your bedtime. When you exercise, your body is revved up. If you do that right before you go to bed, it might take longer to fall asleep, because your body will need to calm down. In order to get the most sleep-boosting benefits, aim to workout at least three to six hours before you plan to go to sleep.1

When we transition into autumn, just as some people will find it harder to get restful sleep, there are others who might actually find it hard to stay awake until it’s their actual bedtime. This is again related to light exposure. Falling asleep too early can also disrupt the natural circadian rhythm and lead to an exhausting day; therefore, staying in brightly lit rooms up to two hours before bedtime is recommended. This helps to keep the brain alert until it’s the correct time to start winding down.2

Depending on your sleep habits—whether you sleep with the window open or use centralized air conditioning or heating—moving from summer into autumn may be the ideal time to change your bedding. You may opt for flannel sheets instead of lighter cotton and you may choose a warmer comforter for autumn. It all has to do with temperature control, and you are the best judge of what helps you sleep best.

Our immune systems are more fragile during seasonal transitions, especially since we are exposed to colds and flu at this time of year. We need good restful sleep to keep the immune system functioning optimally. So, if you can’t get the best sleep at night, try for a “power nap” during the day. Even 20 minutes can be helpful for staying in a state of Active Wellness.

No matter what season we are in, Kenko Sleep Technology is the Nikken way to help you sleep like a baby. We just added the Kenko Naturest® Makura to our line of sleep products and rave reviews are coming in. Try this layered ergonomic pillow with three types of sleep technology—pair it with a Kenko Naturest® Fit and add a Kenko Dream or Dream Light Comforter for sweet dreams. And don’t forget that tomorrow is the last day to get 30% off the KenkoAir Purifier®, HEPA filtration to help you breathe fresh air all day and all night long!

1 https://blog.fitbit.com/transition-sleep-routine/

2 https://www.wellandgood.com/change-in-seasons-affects-sleep/

To Sleep Well You Need to Breathe Well

To ensure good sleep, we tend to think about the comfort of our mattresses and pillows, room temperature and keeping the environment dark. According to sleep specialist and neuroscientist Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, breathing properly is essential for staying healthy and getting proper sleep.1

She says, “Poor air quality can increase your risk of developing allergies and certain diseases such as asthma, or respiratory infections such as colds, the flu, bronchitis, COVID-19 and pneumonia. People with proper breathing experience deeper, more refreshing sleep, are able to fall asleep faster, and are less likely to experience nighttime awakenings. If air quality is low, and breathing is poor, you may wake up several times per night. This can keep you from entering the deepest, most refreshing stages of sleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day.” 2

Scientists have noted that our brains function better when it receives an abundance of oxygen. The brain does not shut down when we are sleeping but continues to process information, so it still requires lots of breathable air even when the body is resting. Since the brain uses about 25% of total oxygen intake, supplying it with enough good air is crucial for health, not only during sleep but all day long.

One of the easiest ways to improve air quality is to allow fresh air to circulate through the bedroom. This increases oxygen levels in your blood, which then increases the overall quality of sleep. That’s why many sleep experts recommend keeping the windows open to let in outside air to boost ventilation.

Just as fresh air boosts the brain’s performance, stagnant air has an adverse effect. The brain will wake us up to force us to take deeper breaths to clear out carbon dioxide and get the oxygen it needs. The fresher and cleaner the air, the deeper the sleep because the brain does not need to work hard to get the oxygen it needs. Proper hydration and nutrition can also help improve oxygen levels.

On the other hand, people with allergies should be careful with open windows during spring and summer months, when plant pollen is at its highest level. There’s also the risk that outside air quality could be worse than inside your home—if you live in an area with high pollen counts or busy traffic.

With global conditions in today’s environment, using an air purifier is a good idea, no matter where you live, no matter which season of the year.

The entire month of September, we are celebrating sleep technology with the launch of the Kenko Naturest® Makura and the Makura Sleep Packs. To make September even better, we’re taking 30% off the KenkoAir Purifier® from September 20 through September 30. You’ll see the effects of ozone-free HEPA filtration combined with the revolutionary Kenko Naturest® Makura and Fit. It’s an Active Wellness combination that will help you sleep well all year long.

1, 2 https://www.sleep.com/sleep-health/fresh-air-benefits

Putting the Restful Part Back into Sleep

A third of our lives is spent sleeping and resting, but not everyone actually feels rested after spending time in bed. There are many reasons for not sleeping—maybe tomorrow brings an event that is too exciting! Or, it could be the first day of a new job or at a new school. You could be auditioning for a gig as a musician or actor. There might be a big celebration to attend—an anniversary, a birthday, so many kinds of parties!

Whatever the reason, between 10 and 30% of adults have insomnia at one time or another, but thankfully there are simple steps to take to get a sound night’s sleep. Where and how you sleep can make a difference in how well you sleep.

When you rest in an environment that is comfortable and soothing, it helps you fall asleep. Even though you are sleeping, getting enough rest is part of the Active Wellness lifestyle. Here are a few things to try.

• Keep the room dark and quiet. In other words, whenever you’re able to, keep any stimulation out. Some people fall asleep to the TV or headset every night. If you can sleep through the night that way and get up feeling rested, that’s great, but chances are, the TV and the headset could keep you awake longer.

• Try keeping your electronic devices off and see if it helps you. The cell phone is an especially big disruptor because it can jar you awake when you’re in a nice, sound sleep, and then you can’t fall back asleep. Make sure to turn it off or at least keep it on silent.

• Give yourself the chance to calm down and empty the mind. Breathe in and breathe out, slowly and rhythmically. It may even help to count 1, 2, 3 as you breathe in and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 as you breathe out, keeping the exhalation slower than the inhalation.

• Have you heard the “counting sheep” method of going to sleep? This is similar to counting your breaths, but parents have been known to tell their children to count sheep when they have a hard time falling asleep. The monotony of visualizing sheep and counting them has a slightly hypnotic effect that may lull you to sleep.

• Ventilation is as important as your breath. If the bedroom is stuffy, open a window. If there’s no window, try a fan. The KenkoAir Purifier® is also a big help, because it cleans the stale air.

• If you feel wired, don’t go to bed. Wait until you feel sleepy! A warm bath or shower may help you unwind.

• Make sure you get some kind of routine exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but getting the circulation going earlier in the day will help you be tired and ready to catch some zzzzzs.

• In bed but not quite ready to shut your eyes? Pick up a real book with pages, not an e-Book. Reading tires out the eyes and does not have the same effect as an electronic device that lights up—and paper does not give off undesired electromagnetic waves.

• To get your body to calm down and feel more connected to a natural state, try putting a KenkoGround® under your feet or neck—just make sure it’s touching your skin.

• Very importantly, make sure your bedding is comfortable. Nikken has a whole Kenko Sleep Pack, sized for different beds, that can help make your nightly slumber a restful experience to look forward to!

Nikken is launching a revolutionary pillow that takes Sleep Technology to a new level. We’ll explore this innovation next week. Meanwhile, check it out in the shopping cart: Kenko Naturest® Makura, Item 13122. It is in all the Makura Sleep Packs but once you try the new pillow, you’re going to want one or more for every bed in the house!

Imagine Breathing in Refreshing Forest Air

The smell of nature in the air is so sweet! Did you know that this enticing smell is not only a sensory pleasure but actually an aspect of preventive health in Japanese medicine? Called Shinrin-Yoku, its literal translation is “forest bathing.” Though any kind of nature can enhance our health and happiness, there’s something special about being in a forest.

The Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, headed by Dr. Qing Li, promotes research on the therapeutic effects of forests on human health and educates people on the practice of forest bathing, which involves slowly walking through a forest, taking in the atmosphere through all your senses and enjoying the benefits.1 In 1982, Japan launched a national program to encourage forest bathing and by 2004, a formal study of the link between forests and human health had begun in Iiyama, a place known for its lush, green forests. Now, more than 2.5 million people walk those forest trails as a way to ease stress and enhance health.2

After years of study, Dr. Qing Li has found that spending time in a forest can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression and anger! The result is a boost to the immune system, improved cardiovascular and metabolic health and an increase in the feeling of overall well-being.3

In the western world, exercise is the primary solution for promoting cardiovascular, metabolic and mental health. When you are walking through a forest and inhaling that natural air, you’re not only getting moderate exercise but also hanging out with trees, which turns out to be an important part of preventive health. Dr. Qing Li discovered this when he was a stressed-out student and went on a week of forest camping. He returned feeling restored both physically and mentally, so much so that it inspired him to research forests and their benefits on human well-being.

Those of us who don’t have easy access to a forest and forest bathing, can have the next best thing. Since indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air, how soothing would it be to have forest-like air in doors? How much would we benefit from breathing natural forest-like air in our own homes?

Say hello to the KenkoAir Purifier®. Its middle name is HEPA 13 and it can filter air particles so small that they’re not visible to the naked eye. Due to negative-ion technology, you receive filtered air that simulates what’s found in nature—nature as in forests and lakes. In other words, you’re getting as close to forest bathing as you can without actually hanging out with the trees.

In keeping with the Nikken pledge to be in harmony with nature, the KenkoAir Purifier operates ozone-free so it’s non-toxic. It has a reusable pre-filter which can be washed and the other filters can be replaced easily every six months. You breathe cleaner air and decrease your carbon footprint at the same time—a win-win situation you can enjoy year-round, as long as you remember to replace the filters on time. If you live somewhere that has especially dense air quality, replace the filters more often. Every time you see the red light is on, you’ll know your KenkoAir Purifier is cranking so your air gets cleaner.

Lately, even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is recommending the use of a HEPA air filter in homes. Don’t wait for visible signs of bad air to show up in your home. Mold, mildew, musty odors, dust and dander can all be addressed with good filtration. You don’t have to wait long to feel and smell the benefits from the KenkoAir Purifier.

From now through September 15, take advantage of our state-of-the-art filtration systems: all filters are 20% off. These are Active Wellness filters for the KenkoAir Purifier®, PiMag Waterfall®, PiMag® Sport Bottle and PiMag MicroJet® Showers (both hand held and wall mount models) and PiMag® mineral stones.

1, 2, 3 https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_forest_bathing_is_good_for_your_health

Break the Single-Use Plastic Habit

One of the most straightforward ways each one of us can decrease our carbon footprint is to break the single-use plastic habit. In this age of conveniences, take-out food and beverages as well as delivered items often come in plastic containers. Everywhere we go, we see people drinking water from single-use plastic bottles.

Single use plastic shopping bags are the biggest landfillers next to plastic bottles, but fortunately, they are slowly making their way out of the mainstream marketplace. Grocery stores have been encouraging customers to bring their own totes and only provide bags upon demand. Even so, we still need to be conscientious in choosing paper bags when we forget to bring our own re-usable totes.

Take the single-use plastic challenge for a day! Increase that to most of the week, then incrementally build up to a month. You will see it can be done and you will have made a personal contribution to the maintenance of our planet! The challenge is simple: Go through a regular day but refrain from touching any single-use plastic item, whether it’s a bag or a bottle. Keep track of your trash: you will see how much less there is when you use recyclable containers and bottles instead of plastic bags and bottles.

Another way to get rid of the single-use-plastic habit is to make your own “zero-waste kit.”1 The five recommended items to include in the kit are a re-usable water bottle, a cloth shoulder bag or tote, a metal straw, a re-usable coffee/tea cup and a set of travel utensils. Each of these five items is an alternative to a common single-use plastic item. You can take it with you when you travel, go on a hike, go on a shopping spree, and so on.

The Active Wellness lifestyle is not only about our physical and mental health but also about the health of our planet. If everyone takes the single-use plastic challenge, the results would be astounding. Why wouldn’t every person want to contribute personally when 50% of plastic products are used for single-use purposes to the tune of 380 million tons a year?2 Since only 9% of plastic gets recycled globally, no wonder 10 million tons are found in our oceans worldwide.3

Governments are aware they need to legislate environmental regulations to help solve the problem of plastic waste. The U.S. Interior Department affirms that it will phase out the sale of single-use plastic products in national parks and other public lands by 2032.4 In Europe, wherever sustainable alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products cannot be placed on the markets of EU Member States. This applies to cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, and sticks for balloons. It will also apply to cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.5

We can be mindful and set our intentions to decreasing our carbon footprint. We have to start somewhere. At Nikken, we are committed to living in harmony with nature, and our water and air filters certainly were created with that in mind. From now through September 15, take advantage of our state-of-the-art filtration systems: all filters are 20% off. These include filters for the PiMag Waterfall®, PiMag® Sport Bottle and PiMag MicroJet® Showers (both hand held and wall mount models), PiMag® mineral stones and KenkoAir Purifier®.

1 https://rothys.com/blogs/the-loop/10-tips-to-reduce-plastic-use-be-eco-friendly?

2, 3 https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

4 https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/08/us-to-ban-sale-of-single-use-plastic-on-public-lands-national-parks-by-2032

5 https://environment.ec.europa.eu/topics/plastics/single-use-plastics_en

The 5 Pillars of Wellness Relate to Health and Wealth

Do you know about the 5 Pillars of Wellness? These 5 Pillars are the foundation of Nikken and what our founder believed to be the essence of a balanced lifestyle. The pressures of daily living — a busy schedule, the demands of work, inadequate family or personal time, not enough rest, environmental challenges — can lead to a life thrown out of balance, a disturbance of our natural equilibrium. A balanced approach to living strengthens each of the 5 Pillars of Wellness — Healthy Mind, Body, Family, Society and Finances — and results in a more satisfying, healthy and rewarding lifestyle.

Each of the 5 Pillars relates to the others. Healthy Mind and Body go hand in hand. If you have a Family, you cannot be in balance unless each member is somewhat stable in mind and body. As we reach out past the family, we participate in our communities, just as Nikken is proactive in our Global Wellness Community.

Finally, we have the Healthy Finances Pillar. Simplistically put, this particular pillar is about making money. Unless we are born with so much money that we never have to work a day in our lives, our personal finances help determine whether we can be independent or not. When we have a hard time making ends meet, we worry (unhealthy mind) which takes a toll on our overall well-being (unhealthy body). Inevitably this will impact our relationships within the family and our community. Healthy Finances therefore are a critical part of an Active Wellness lifestyle.

Many people join Nikken because of our groundbreaking products that help us maintain or even improve upon a Healthy Mind, Body and Family. But how many are aware that Nikken also provides a way to contribute to the Healthy Society and Healthy Finances Pillars? Let’s take a single product and see how it might impact every pillar. Let’s use the KenkoAir Purifier® as an example.

•          You purchase a KenkoAir Purifier® because you have furry pets that are shedding a lot and there is a lot of pollen with the spring season. There’s more sneezing and itchy eyes than usual in the household. Or, you purchase a KenkoAir Purifier® because your area is affected by summer fires. It can be that you simply don’t feel your home smells fresh.

•          Once you place your KenkoAir Purifier® your home, you notice it is working hard (the sensor is showing you each time it changes color from blue to red and back again as it ramps up or down, depending on air quality).

•          After a few days (or weeks) you notice the sneezing and itchiness have abated somewhat. Or, you don’t notice the smoky outdoor air at all. Your friends come by and comment on how fresh your house smells.

•          You’re socializing a bit more because you feel more energetic now that allergens or whatever else was in your indoor air is negligible, if not entirely gone.

•          You want to share your newfound companion, KenkoAir Purifier®, with your family members who don’t live with you, so they can breathe more freely, too.

•          You also want to share your “breath of fresh air” with friends, because after all, friends share good things with each other.

•          After hearing from you, your extended family and friends may want to try the KenkoAir Purifier® for themselves. You help them with the purchase and introduce other products that may benefit them. You may also introduce the business potential with Nikken as a way to earn some supplemental income.

•          Each “share” you do that ends up in a purchase, results in a check in the mail for you from Nikken. It’s known as a commission, but you didn’t think of it as selling anything. You just wanted to share something really beneficial, because it’s the air you breathe every single day in your home that made the difference!

This actual scenario repeats itself around the world. There are people who discover this sharing of benefits as a way to make money. Many are stay-at-home mothers and ironically, the pandemic transformed many unemployed people into entrepreneurs—no need to leave home when you simply connect digitally.

Imagine how your Society and Finances Pillars would stabilize and expand if you consciously and conscientiously shared your discoveries of the different benefits of KenkoAir filtration, Nikken Sleep Technology, magnetic technologies, alkaline PiMag® water, Kenzen® organic nutrition, True Elements® marine organic skin care, and Kenko massage technology! In other words, what could happen when you share with intention?

Since May is designated as National Asthma & Allergy Awareness month, Nikken is participating by offering you affordable access to top quality HEPA 13 air filtration with 20% off each order of the KenkoAir Purifier®. In addition, each order of the KenkoAir Purifier comes with items that provide an extra line of defense to support an Active Wellness lifestyle—Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer, Kenzen® Surface Cleaner and the Surface Cleaner refill. May is almost over, but you still have almost a week to experiment with sharing the benefits you’ve personally felt, and to see how your intention impacts the size of your commission check!

Achoo and Gesundheit!

Whether you say “gesundheit” or “bless you”, the intent is the same: to wish good (health) to the person who sneezes. Sneezing is a protective reflex that babies are born with, and luckily, it doesn’t disappear with growth or aging. We don’t need to learn how to sneeze and we can never forget how to do it!

Sneezing may feel annoying, but in reality, it helps the body get rid of things that are irritating or harmful. By sneezing, newborns (as well as older babies, children, and adults) can expel germs and particles from the nose and help protect themselves from getting sick.

Sneezing is how the body clears the nose. When pollen, smoke, dust or even fragrances and odors enter the nostrils, each individual’s nose may react differently. If it’s irritating or tickling in some way, the body tries to ease that feeling and does so with an achoo! In this way, a sneeze is one of the body’s first defenses against invading bacteria and/or viruses. Other foreign particles that can trigger sneezing include mold, mildew, dander and smog.

Sneezes also perform another vital role in the body. In 2012, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered that sneezing is the nose’s natural way to “reset.” They found that cilia, the cells that line the tissue inside the nose, are rebooted with a sneeze. In other words, a sneeze resets the entire nasal environment.1

When we are allergic to something, sneezing is one of the most common reactions as the body tries to clear its airway of the offending allergen. Researchers aren’t sure why some people sneeze multiple times. It may be a sign that your sneezes aren’t quite as strong as a person who only sneezes once. It could also be a sign that you have ongoing or chronic nasal stimulation or inflammation, possibly as a result of allergies.

The most important indoor pollutant is tobacco smoke. It is strongly associated with allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments.2 The most common sources of outdoor pollution include ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.3 These pollutants have been shown to be especially hazardous to adults and children with asthma.

•          Ozone is a big contributor to smog. It’s produced when sunlight reacts with the fumes produced by cars and industrial plants. Although ozone helps protect from UV rays, when it’s present at high amounts on the ground level, it acts as an irritant to the lungs, aggravates asthma and makes breathing difficult.

•       Sulfur Dioxide is a water-soluble gas commonly emitted into the air by coal-fired power plants, refineries, smelters, paper and pulp mills, and food processing plants. Sulfur dioxide has such a pungent odor that for some people, just the smell can cause sneezing. Sulfur dioxide is a precursor for sulfuric acid, an air pollutant that plays a major role in causing respiratory distress.

•          Nitrogen Dioxide is produced largely by burning fuel. In urban areas, it’s produced when there is a lot of traffic congestion or diesel fumes. Indoors, it’s produced by unventilated heaters and gas stoves.

The air that we breathe not only can cause sneezing, but it can also produce runny noses, burning eyes and respiratory distress. An interesting fact is that allergies are more prevalent in highly developed countries in North America and Europe than in less developed nations.4 This suggests that something about contemporary lifestyles may be causing more allergies.

Some items we tend to overlook that can cause allergies include artificial food coloring (especially red dye), latex (commonly found in medical gloves, adhesive bandages and other medical devices), nickel (an element often mixed into gold-toned jewelry), cosmetics (makeup is often full of chemicals, perfumes, and dust mites (that often live in pillows, sheets, mattresses, carpets or even stuffed animals). And of course, the more fumes we breathe in from car exhaust, vehicles that run on diesel, and industrial air pollution, the more likely we are to suffer from breathing difficulties.

What is the bottom line? Indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality, with tobacco smoke being the worst and most offensive air pollutant that clearly promotes both allergy and asthma. Diesel fumes likely promote allergy, whereas other outdoor air pollutants act more as irritants that can aggravate allergies and asthma. Although we are not in control of outdoor air, we can take steps to make sure our indoor air quality is healthy. Keeping dust to a minimum and washing bedding often, using fragrance-free detergents and cleansers, brushing pets often and disposing of fur—these are all part of an Active Wellness lifestyle—and always use a good air filtration system indoors.

Since May is designated as National Asthma & Allergy Awareness month, Nikken is participating by offering you affordable access to top quality HEPA 13 air filtration with 20% off each order of the KenkoAir Purifier®. In addition, each order of the KenkoAir Purifier comes with items that provide an extra line of defense to support an Active Wellness lifestyle—Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer, Kenzen® Surface Cleaner and the Surface Cleaner refill. This offer lasts through the end of May, so take advantage of it while you can!

1 https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sneeze

2, 3, 4 https://www.medicinenet.com/air_pollution_and_allergies__connection/views.htm