Glossary


B

Biochemical reactions

The chemical reactions and interactions that occur within the cells of the body, underlying body processes and life itself.

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C

Carcinogens

Substances known to play a role in causing cancer.

Circadian rhythm

Your body’s “inner clock,” which is in your brain. It regulates numerous functions of your body, including temperature, hormone secretion, metabolism and energy levels, throughout each moment of a 24-hour cycle.

Cognitive

Relates to mental processes, such as learning, reasoning, perception and memory.

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E

Endocrine disruptors

Chemicals that can mimic human hormones and throw off your body’s natural hormone system, known as the endocrine system.

Essential oils

Extracts made using the oil of the plant they come from. They are often extracted from a plant through a distillation process, leading to a concentrated form of a natural oil.

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F

Flame retardants

Substances—usually chemical in nature—that delay by a few seconds how long it takes for a material to ignite.

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G

Genes

Pieces of DNA that carry specific instructions to cells. Genes are the blueprints that help determine just about everything for people: looks, skills, behavior, responses, how their body functions and how likely they are to develop certain diseases and conditions.

Gene expression

How your cells only express, or “turn on,” a portion of their genes at different times. Other genes remain unexpressed, or “turned off.” Hormonal changes, environmental triggers and lifestyle choices can determine whether a gene is turned on or off, as well as how the gene functions. These changes can then trigger or prevent diseases and conditions.

God

Known by many names, including Creator, the Divine, Spirit, Source, Supreme Being, Love, Life Force and Universal Intelligence. God is considered here as the Higher Power that directs the larger story we’re all a part of.

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H

Hormone-disruptors

Chemicals that can mimic human hormones and throw off your body’s natural hormone system, also known as the endocrine system.

Higher self

The deepest essence of who you are. Take away the body, mind, personality, thoughts and emotions, and it’s the soul that remains.

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I

Insomnia

A condition where one has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This can be a short-term condition or an ongoing issue.

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M

Melatonin

A hormone, made in the pineal gland of your brain, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Light affects melatonin production.

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N

Neuroplasticity

Refers to the brain’s ability to adapt, change and restructure physiologically; to develop new neural pathways and connections.

Neurons

Nerve cells that process and transmit information to other parts of the body.

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O

Off-gassing

The process of VOCs releasing or evaporating into the air. Some products off-gas for years.

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P

Parabens

A class of chemicals commonly used in personal care products as a preservative. Some are known to be endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can mimic human hormones and throw off your body’s natural hormone system, known as the endocrine system.

Phthalates

A class of chemicals that are used as solvents or to make plastics more flexible. They are widely used in body care products and household items. Some are known to be endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that can mimic human hormones and throw off your body's natural hormone system, known as the endocrine system.

Parasympathetic nervous system

A branch of the autonomic nervous system that’s responsible for slowing and calming the body processes and helping us recover and rebalance physiologically. For instance, it lowers heart rate and conserves energy.

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R

Religion

A structured, faith-based community or institution that stands by certain beliefs and often follows a set of practices, rituals, rites or ceremonies.

Resilience

The ability to adapt, adjust and recover in the face of change, challenge, adversity and stress.

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S

Synthetic

Man-made materials or ingredients. They’re often created by using a chemical process.

Sleep debt

The accumulation of sleep you’ve missed over time. Although you can’t entirely reverse the toll sleep debt takes on your health, you can “pay” it off by getting plenty of sleep to get back to a point of being well rested.

Sleep apnea

A highly treatable condition in which your breathing stops briefly at different periods throughout the night. Sleep apnea is marked by pauses in breathing, shallow breathing, loud snoring, waking with a dry throat and daytime grogginess.

Spirituality

The connection to your higher self or soul, or an awareness of a Higher Power.

Soul

The deepest essence of who you are. Take away the body, mind, personality, thoughts and emotions, and it’s the soul that remains.

Stress

The physiological response the body and mind experiences in response to changes (positive or negative in perception), demands or pressures.

Sympathetic nervous system

A branch of the autonomic nervous system that signals and / or stimulates the body’s fight or flight response, which is designed to help us survive danger. When activated by a threat (real or perceived), it revs up certain body functions, such as heart rate, while at the same time shutting down others, such as digestion.

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V

Volatile organic compounds

(VOCs) Invisible gases made up of a variety of chemicals. VOCs occur when products—solid or liquid—release tiny particles into the air. They lead to short- and long-term health consequences.

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