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Maintaining a Healthy Home Holistically

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Martina Westcott Hsoc 259 April 21, 2010 Maintaining a Healthy Home Holistically: Natural Household Products as Safe Alternatives to Conventional Products “If you want to learn about the health of a population, look at the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the places where they live. ” -Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, 5th Century BC Natural household products are an important part of maintaining health holistically. From day to day, what is ingested, inhaled, and introduced into our bodies has effects on levels of function and the state of our health.

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We spend up to 57 percent of our lives indoors, so it is beneficial to make sure that indoor environments are safe havens to raise healthy children. [1] High levels of exposure to harmful fumes and aromas produced by conventional cleaning products play a role in increasing rates of asthma, especially in young children. Conventional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are irritating to both the skin and body. Asthma cannot be cured, but by removing triggers in the home, this condition can be treated and patients can rely less on biomedicine to control symptoms.

Two main symptom aggravators for asthmatic patients are bioallergens and chemical irritants. [2] Natural cleaning products can be helpful in removing both from the home. By removing allergens and synthetic chemicals from the home environment, good health is maintained. Perspectives taken from current consumers of natural cleaning products reveal an understanding of the environment as a point of access to a wealth of resources that can serve to alleviate symptoms and enhance one’s quality of life. The efficacy of these products is revealed in personal accounts.

Moreso today than ever before, it is crucial to regard the body as a precious vessel and treat it as such. In doing so, some are beginning to relate to the environment in a new way, valuing responsibility to the environment as much as responsibility for their own bodies. By engaging in a reciprocal relationship with the environment, humans live in harmony with their surroundings and preserve nature’s healing powers. Melaleuca, Inc, the Shaklee Corporation, and the Rainbow Company are three institutions that pledge to protect the health of consumers and our environment through increasing accessibility to natural cleaning products.

What are Natural Household Products? Natural cleaning products contain components from the earth as primary constituents, such as oils, herbs, or naturally- occurring chemical compounds. These products do not harm the environment and do not introduce foreign chemicals into the body. Therefore, natural cleaning products are typically non- irritating to the skin and eyes and far more gentle than harsh chemical cleansers. In the context of this paper, just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it is less toxic, or non- irritating all the time.

Even cleaners that are safe enough to eat, like lemon juice, can be irritating to the eyes or skin. Consumers should make decisions based on reading the ingredient list for themselves, identifying any ingredients that may be toxic, and then deciding whether to use that product in the home. There are several labels approved by the FDA that one can use to identify whether or not a product is organic, or in other words, natural. If a product is labeled “100% organic” all of the ingredients used must be natural.

If a product is labeled simply “organic,” it at least 95 percent of its ingredients are organically produced. Finally, if a product is labeled “made with organic ingredients,” it must contain at least 70 percent organic contents. The first ingredient on any label is found in the product in greatest quantity, therefore it may be convenient to simply identify this ingredient. Many products are mostly water. Therefore, the first ingredient can provide a clue to the potency of the natural ingredient within the product of your choice. 3] Not all natural cleaning products are equal. Like all products used in the home, especially around children, it is necessary to research ingredients or subscribe to a company that pledges to provide pure products. For instance, the Melaleuca Company adheres to the established Australian standard that requires marketed Melaleuca oil to have a minimum of thirty- five percent Terpinen and a maximum of ten- percent Cineole, the two main chemical components of the natural oil, which ensures that the product is as pure as possible. [4] The Shaklee Corporation, another ompany that promotes natural products, maintains a Scientific Advisory Board of medical professionals and scientists who regularly check the purity of products and make sure EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards are met. [5] These are features of companies that have created transparency for consumers to identify exactly where their products are coming from and can be trusted to provide pure products for the home. Why Worry About the Environment? Do you know what impacts the quality of your health? [pic] www. ahha. org We are our environment.

Health does not end at the skin. Everything we do, from the food we eat to the air we breathe, affects our health. In this diagram produced by the American Holistic Health Association, the environment is shown to impact health in an even stronger capacity than medical care. While one may visit the doctor’s office once or twice annually, we spend countless hours indoors in the course of our lives. Therefore the quality of the environment cannot be separated from one’s state of health. Natural household products holistically maintain health because they do not harm the environment.

Unnatural, genetically engineered chemicals used in the environment have been shown to harm the body. In a study conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, evidence was found linking organochlorine exposure and thyroid disease in women. Organochlorine is an insecticide used in planting. The study compared female farmers in Iowa and North Carolina who had been exposed to the compound on a regular basis to those who were not in regular contact with the chemical. Analysis of results showed that “there was an increased odds of hypothyroidism with use of organochlorine insecticides of 12. %”[6] This study reveals the bodily harm that can be incurred just by touching chemically altered compounds and using them on a daily basis. This is not to mention the potential dangers of ingesting these chemicals in food products. As we keep the environment pure, we also keep our bodies pure. In indigenous cultures, all products used in the home came directly from the earth itself. Indigenous Perspectives of Holism Using natural cleaning products parallels the use of holistic healthcare. Indigenous peoples believed that human beings are one with the earth, and this assertion is found in all forms of Shamanistic practice.

Each of us is deeply connected with the Earth’s ecosystems. In a book entitled Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves the author writes, “By restoring the earth, we restore ourselves”[7] Biologically, the human body is composed of the same elements that constitute the land like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. When we die, our bodies return to the earth and begin the cycle of life anew. The Bible reads, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return. ”[8] Human life comprises just one small portion of the cycle of life.

Cultures that participated in Shamanistic traditions like the Native Americans, for instance, understood this cycle of life. The notion of using the most valuable herbs the earth has to offer in personal care regimens is not one of recent invention. Native Americans have used plants and herbs grown by hand for anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 years. [9] The spiritual understanding of a life cycle that the earth is intimately connected to human beings is the underlying basis for providing optimal care and respect for the land, which will ultimately offer up a harvest to care for the individual in turn.

Such an understanding “is awareness that life in any environment is viable only when humans view the life that surrounds them as kin. ”[10] This phenomenon, which professor of Anthropology Enrique Salmon calls “ecological kinship” is a unique feature of Native American culture and other Shamanistic belief systems that has produced a deep appreciation for the land, one that the Melaleuca Company echoes in promotion of natural products that do not harm the earth upon disposal as some harsh chemicals may.

Native Americans have traditionally “viewed human beings not as some higher intellectual being above lower animal and inanimate beings but as a kindred partner in the universe, reliant on the other beings in creation for life itself. ”[11] This fundamental interdependence is necessary to an understanding of holistic healthcare as more than care for the body, but also care for the environment, which can be considered the temple that houses our bodies. Other Native American groups have similar understandings of the cyclic nature of life and death as it relates to the environment.

In Cherokee culture, the medicine wheel, which symbolizes the “wheel of life”[12] represents a series of stages through which living beings pass associated with seasons and the alignment of the cosmos. The wheel does not have to be tangible; it can be spiritually understood as present during ceremonial rituals. The term “medicine” wheel may be understood in American culture if biomedicine is the immediate connection one identifies because the concept is quite spiritual in Native culture. The medicine wheel is a healing cycle that includes the environment as a source of healing and strength. As Dr.

Tieraona Low Dog puts it eloquently, “plants aren’t pills, they’re seeds. ”[13] In indigenous cultures, plants have intrinsic healing properties simply from being alive. These healing powers are all- natural and unaltered by man, preserved only in the purity of nature. This is true in all indigenous belief systems. For Native Americans and other indigenous groups, health is a balance between human outputs and inputs and those of the physical body of land. It is an alignment that is achieved through respect for the earth, an absence of exploitation in terms of resource extraction, and an embracing of nature.

In a physical sense, balance is achieved by respecting the land. In a spiritual sense, balance is achieved by using the wheel symbolically in ceremonial practices and rituals to align oneself with climate patterns, deities, etc. For instance, in certain Cherokee ceremonies, tribes march around a central fire in a counter- clockwise direction because this is believed to be pleasing to the divine. According to Jutlia Atli, a member of the Cherokee tribe, “We are created by, balanced between, and destroyed by the primary forces represented on the Wheel. [14] The wheel includes seven sacred directions which correspond to environmental elements and seasons as well as colors and times of day. The seven directions are also representative of various characters, such as humility, change, death, and impermanence. These examples demonstrate the creation and existence of the human being as only a small part of an extensive universal system of life that is all inclusive, a substratum of physical and spiritual interconnection that strings together all beings as one. This holistic view of life is one that we can reclaim today.

Like a flickering flame, human life is only a brief glimpse of the extensive life present on the earth at any given point in time, a humbling acceptance that can truly change one’s perspective. Natural Medicine Indigenous peoples used what was available to them in their immediate environments, typically herbs, roots, or seeds that grew from the soil, in healing. These natural elements were the body’s first medicines. Modern pharmaceuticals introduce chemicals that have often been genetically engineered in the laboratory into our bodies.

When the body does not recognize a drug, the immune system is designed to combat that foreign substance. Prescriptions cannot simply target one symptom because the body is a set of extensive systems that work in harmony to maintain homeostasis. Any pill ingested must travel through the entire system and could potentially harm organs or tissues that were not the intended target of the treatment. Therefore, it is better to use natural treatments that are not so unfamiliar to the body to maintain good health.

Holistic practitioners like those who practice homeopathy utilize naturally occurring remedies to restore health such as herbs. A homeopathic physician, Dr. Linda Baker utilizes natural herbs every day in her practice and also maintains an allergen- free, chemical- free environment in her office for patients. [15] Her concern for creating a natural setting for her homeopathic practice speaks to recreating the natural environment indoors to maintain health holistically. She subscribes to the Shaklee Corporation, a company that produces natural products for the home and office.

Natural Household Products Today: Drawing on the Past to Protect Our Future Three major companies involved in producing natural cleaning products for sale presently are the Shaklee Corporation, the Rainbow Company, and Melaleuca Inc. A brief overview of the services offered by these companies will provide insight into the transforming views of how to maintain a healthy home environment. All companies promoting natural cleaning products share the same basic goal, and that is promoting health holistically by offering alternatives to harsh chemicals that can harm the body and the environment.

These companies look to indigenous cultures for philosophy and ingredients. The Shaklee Corporation has been operating since 1960. It is one of the pioneer companies to promote natural cleaning products and biodegradable containers for household products. Their mission statement nicely sums some of the ideas presented in this paper. This is the Shaklee pledge: “We make products from the purest natural ingredients. And we take stringent measures to keep out pesticides, contaminants, and other unnatural things that simply don’t belong there.

But just as important as what we take from nature is what we don’t take. ”[16] Shaklee set the standard for many similar companies that would follow. Melaleuca, Inc. was founded by Frank VanderSloot in 1995. The overarching goals of the company are to provide consumers with natural alternatives to chemically based cleaning products, healing supplements, medications, and even beauty products. By working in concert with the environment, the Melaleuca Company has brought to the forefront natural remedies that have been used for centuries in other cultures.

For instance, the pioneer product and namesake of this innovative company was melaleuca oil, also known as tea tree oil. This oil is a natural compound taken from an Australian plant which is considered “a useful dermatological with antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. ”[17] Tea tree oil is used in a wide range of products sold by the company, including toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, as well as its most basic form as pure oil. Tea tree oil was used among Australian aborigines who realized the healing power of the extract upon experimentation.

Within that culture, “freshly crushed leaves were applied directly to an injury, and then held in place with a mud pack”[18] and healing was accelerated. They named the herb bungawalbyn, which means “healing ground” in the native language. [19] Today, tea tree oil is used to treat conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, and athlete’s foot. It is found within a whole host of natural cleaning products, from teas to acne medications. This company is one of many that have successfully brought this ancient herb back to the forefront of health consciousness and natural remedies for common ailments.

The Melaleuca Company functions through word- of- mouth dissemination of consumer based advice and success with products. One of the company’s slogans, “We’re telling about Melaleuca, not selling it”[20] speaks to this feature of promoting the products. Customers are exposed to Melaleuca through informational sessions held within the homes of current users who are given instructional materials to conduct the sessions themselves with other friends. As a wellness company, the Melaleuca brand promotes a holistic focus on the entire individual’s overall wellbeing and daily satisfaction with bodily function.

Testimonies shared during informational sessions are typically centered on personal experience with the product, from health improvements seen after using natural cleaning products as in the case of Ms. Hensen, to the practical efficacy of maintaining a healthy lifestyle without harming the environment. While Melaleuca promotes a whole host of natural products, from lotions to cleaners, other companies focus on improving the efficacy and the environmentally- friendly standard of a particular household appliance such as the vacuum.

The Rainbow Cleaning System line produces vacuum cleaners that use a water filtration system to collect dirt and allergens picked up instead of traditional bags that can harbor a host of dust mites and other bacteria lifted from carpets during vacuuming. The idea of cleaning one’s home is the goal to remove dirt, but some conventional vacuum cleaners only spread dirt and dust mites as one empties filters and bags. Rainbow technology uses a water basin to trap allergens in a fluid that can be easily disposed in the proper receptacle, either bagged and thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet.

The innovative system also allows customers to add natural components to the water basin prior to vacuuming, such as lemon or orange peels, to fragrance the home naturally as you vacuum. This pragmatic system can be helpful for those who are sensitive to dust and other irritants, especially asthmatic children and adults. Conventional Household Products Pollute the Body Asthma is a condition that affects a large portion of the U. S. population and it is especially prevalent among young children. An average of one out of every 13 school-aged children or nine million US children under age 18 have been diagnosed with asthma. It’s the most common chronic childhood disease in the developed world and has become even more commonplace in the last three decades. ”[21] Furthermore, in the US, the prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994. [22] An increasingly toxic home environment may play a key role in the development of asthma and the severity of symptoms.

A 2004 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed the harmful effects of environmental irritants in amplifying asthma- related symptoms. The study, which followed 937 children living in high- risk homes in seven major cities, found that a reduction of irritants within the home served to decrease asthma- related morbidity rates. [23] Children who were exposed to fewer allergens within the home through stringent cleaning practices experienced less symptoms of asthma including wheezing and coughing. They could also play for more extended periods of time because their symptoms were alleviated.

This study reveals the fundamental connection between health and environment, one that companies promoting natural cleaning products hope to make prominent in American consumer culture. The Melaleuca Company promotes maintaining a healthy home. In a chapter of the Melaleuca Wellness Guide entitled “Is Your Home a Healthy Home? ” John K. Beaulieu exposes the harms that can be unwittingly imposed on one’s family through the use of toxic chemicals in household products. Some alarming statistics are presented as evidence of these harms.

For instance, “a product that kills 50% of lab animals through ingestion or inhalation can still receive the federal regulatory designation ‘non-toxic’”[24] Throughout the article, a number of products used in almost every household in the United States are listed as containing cancer-causing agents and chemicals that can irritate respiratory pathways or skin. One chemical that is common in many household products, formaldehyde, which is also used to preserve human and animal bodies for dissection, is described as capable of causing “spasms, edema of the larynx and bronchi, and chemical pneumonitis”[25] upon inhalation.

Formaldehyde is found in common brands of bubble bath, baby shampoo, hair spray, and other personal care products and, like dust and allergens, has also been linked to childhood asthma. In an article published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal entitled “Formaldehyde Exposure and Asthma in Children: A Systematic Review,” literature reviews of recently published studies provided quantitative evidence of a strong association between formaldehyde in the home environment and increasing rates of asthma among children.

Specifically, “when compared with individuals with no formaldehyde exposure, those with the highest levels of exposure reported in the seven studies (i. e. , 80 µg/m3) would have 3. 5-times higher odds of asthma. ”[26] One study examined in this report focused on formaldehyde exposure among infants from birth to two years of age, a critical window where exposure to formaldehyde can have long- lasting effects due to the “small caliber of their airways”[27] and found an even stronger positive association with asthma for these children later in life.

Therefore, it is imperative that families keep their homes pure in terms of products used to clean furniture and floors, especially in children’s rooms. Some links to chemical and asthma remain unclear. For instance, a study in Sweden identified yet another harmful agent found in many household items, phthalate compounds. Phthalates are compounds that are used in conventional tupper- ware plastic containers as well as moisturizers, nail polish, and vinyl flooring. These compounds are ubiquitous in most American homes as well and leach out of products into the air. “Global phthalate production is 3. million tons per year”[28] and this figure is rising every year. The Swedish study concluded that “house dust containing [phthalates]…is associated with higher rates of asthma. ”[29] The study included Swedish children who were exposed to phthalate- containing products in the home. However, a reverse causation factor has been considered by the American Chemistry Council, which suggests that it is yet to be determined whether the presence of the phthalate compounds ultimately leads to asthma or if the phthalate-containing products brought into the home to combat asthma only further aggravate symptoms.

Both situations may be contributing factors to worsening symptoms. The example used is the practice of replacing carpets with vinyl flooring to reduce allergens, which is often a response to asthma because parents are aware of the dust mites carpeting can harbor within the home. Perhaps the Rainbow Cleaning System would work well for these families! Although this particular connection remains unclear, other chemical compounds like formaldehyde have been linked to asthma with high levels of certainty.

The preventive benefits of using natural cleaning systems in the home prevail. Evidence suggests that conventional cleaning products cause illness; this is especially important for children. During the interview, Ms. Hensen discussed the health benefits of using natural household products within her own family in depth. With regard to the benefits of using Melaleuca products, she asserted wholeheartedly that her “family’s health had improved greatly since the introduction of Melaleuca cleaning products and supplements to the household. Her teenage son has suffered with severe asthma since birth and his condition was often aggravated by strongly scented detergents and other harsh chemical products, including household bleach and ammonia- based cleaners. She revealed that he had missed almost two months of school over the course of his freshman year of high school due to asthma complications despite her best efforts to keep the house clear of irritants like dust and pesticides. When a friend suggested Melaleuca, Ms. Hensen was eager to explore the option.

Her first product was MelaPower©, a melaleuca oil- based detergent. Within weeks, she found that her son was not experiencing the same sense of airway irritation as he had with other brands of detergent. She then added Sol-U-Mel©, a multi-use cleaning solution that she uses throughout the home in cleaning floors, appliances, and large areas such as kitchen and living room floors. These products are part of the EcoSense line of natural cleaning products. Because Sol-U-Mel© solution is sold in concentrated form, it is long- lasting through several uses.

She especially enjoys the versatility of uses for one product she has encountered using Melaleuca. Sol- U- Mel© is just one example of such products that can be used almost anywhere in the home. Her son has not had an asthma attack since she switched to Melaleuca products eight years ago. Now a law school student at Temple University, he uses the products in his own home. When asked how he feels since his mom first introduced him to Melaleuca products, he responds that “Melaleuca changed his life. ” He attributes his renewed ease of breathing to Melaleuca in large part. Ms.

Hensen’s personal testimony does not suggest that Melaleuca products are “miracle solutions” to a whole host of health problems, but it does reveal the efficacy that consumers seek when deciding on a purchase. Her experience reveals a vital tenet of natural, holistic healthcare methods, which is, “In the wisdom of nature lies the solutions” to all of the ailments faced by humankind today. [30] We are not at a loss for natural cures because the environment has just as many rich resources for promoting health as it always has. It is simply our responsibility to take advantage of those resources.

Using natural cleaning products is the first step for many families, especially among those who are aware of the potential dangers of conventional products. One example is antiperspirant, a widely used product in almost every American home. Many antiperspirants contain aluminum, a chemical element that has been linked to breast cancer in several studies. While there is no general consensus on the long- term effects of antiperspirant use, several studies have shown a positive association between regular application and tumors in the breast.

One such study was conducted in 2002, entitled “Aluminum, Antiperspirants, and Breast Cancer. ” The study reveals the toxicity of the element and its possible interactions with breast tissue over long- term exposure: “Aluminium is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells”[31] While the connection between aluminum and breast cancer remains highly debated and continues to draw researchers, there are several chemicals that have been notably proven harmful to the body.

The long- term effects of using chemical elements like aluminum, phthalates, and formaldehyde have been well- documented. However, a recent study by Ramon et al. identifies the short- term effects of constant exposure to conventional cleaning products in the hospitality industry among female housekeepers. [32] In the study, a control group of 43 domestic workers who had been diagnosed with either asthma or obstructive lung disease were instructed to keep diaries of symptoms associated with their conditions, from difficulty breathing to asthma attacks at different points during the day.

The workers recorded the severity of seven symptoms that had been selected by the panel of researchers at different points during the day. The study concluded that exposure to traditional cleaning products, among them bleach- containing products, aggravates lower respiratory tract symptoms among domestic workers. Although this study was conducted in Spain where the pool of participants was localized, these results indicate that conventional cleaning products are not only damaging to the health of children but also to adults. Harsh irritants found in traditional cleaning products like bleach are dangerous to both the body and the environment.

Conventional Household Products Pollute the Environment Humans are only as healthy as their habitats. Therefore, by polluting the environment, we poison ourselves. Conventional cleaning products pollute the environment and our bodies. By poisoning the environment, we poison ourselves. Environmental security, which can be understood as the capacity of humans to live harmoniously with nature or to maintain a sustainable environment is inextricably linked with human security. This is why it is crucial to make careful decisions about the purity of household products.

In an interview with Jim Quigley, founder of Healthy Spaces, a company that aims to help local Philadelphia and Bucks County families create healthier homes and workplaces, the interconnection between environmental health and bodily function was made clear. He described an incident in which a man with severe allergies called in to have an evaluation of his work space hoping to identify a major environmental trigger that could be removed to ease his symptoms. He had been taking Claritin every day, three times per day on his worst days, and was very distracted by his allergy symptoms.

Jim went into evaluate the office and made shocking observations as he engaged in conversation with the man and completed the formal checklist he uses in every evaluation. The first visual observation was an easy one. He immediately identified wall-to-wall carpeting in the office that had not been vacuumed in a number of months, a rich source of dust mites and bacteria. The second was the wall paper, which he determined contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) upon taking a sample and evaluating it in the laboratory. Both formaldehyde, the dangers of which have been discussed, and xylene were found in the wallpaper.

The man was functioning from day to day in a very hazardous environment, and Jim advised him to remove the carpet, remove the wallpaper, and use paint with a natural base to see if his health improved. In a matter of days, the man’s symptoms were alleviated to the point of no longer needing even one dose of Claritin in the course of a day. By returning the office environment to a more natural state, he was able to return his body to a more natural state of functioning as well by coming off of his pharmaceutical medication.

Several companies are making a healthy environment a priority in their marketing strategies. [33] Melaleuca Inc. is an example of one company that is making strides to protect the environment. The biodegradable nature of most Melaleuca products and containers ensures that the environment will not be harmed through proper disposal. This is one of the extra steps the brand makes to protect the natural habitat in which we all must live, which adds sustainable value to the products.

Because the products in Melaleuca’s cleaning line Eco Sense are concentrated, they can be diluted with water instead of packed with chemical fillers to enhance performance. Also, the concentrated nature of the products allows packaging in smaller containers, which allows for less waste. This is a feature that customers like Ms. Hensen truly appreciate. She asserts that she is personally committed to preserving the environment and this was one of the main features that first drew her to the company. In her own words, she is “really concerned with protecting the environment in any way [she] can. [34] The commitment to preserving the environment is a part of the Melaleuca promise because the founders understand that the earth provides benefits that require a sense of respect for the environment, a mutually beneficial partnership between consumers and this universal habitat. All companies providing natural household products make a similar pledge to protecting the environment. Natural Household Products: The Best Choice for Your Home and Health Natural cleaning products provide safe alternatives to harmful chemicals found in many traditional products, from bleach to furniture polish.

Considering that we spend up to 57 percent of our lives indoors, it is beneficial to make sure that indoor environments are safe havens to raise healthy children. At present, many environmental factors are responsible for the increase in the number of allergic and autoimmune diseases, and evidence provided supports the hypothesis that this increase may be caused by the widespread chemical contamination of the environment. Several chemicals, like formaldehyde and phthalates in the home have been linked to rising rates of asthma among young people, but consumers are not left hopeless. The goal is not to live in fear of the world around us.

Rather, it is to embrace the fruits of the earth and bring nature into the home environment. Bacteria and dust mites were some of the first organisms to appear on the planet, and these tiny organisms will not be disappearing anytime soon. All companies promoting natural cleaning products share the same basic goal, and that is promoting health holistically by offering alternatives to harsh chemicals that can harm the body and the environment. Perhaps the reemergence of indigenous practices is evidence that we are beginning to remember that we are just one part of an unending cycle of life- we are nature.

Therefore, the environments we occupy are inseparable from our own holistic wellbeing. Just as some are choosing natural products for healing rather than pharmaceuticals to stimulate the body’s own innate ability to heal, people are looking for more natural products to surround themselves in the home. If the body is a temple of the soul, then the home is the temple of the body, and the environment encapsulates it all. There are no divisions among these components. The earth’s natural elements have worked synergistically with our own bodily systems for thousands of years. Isn’t that the best seal of approval?