Why sitting in front of a naked flame for just 15 minutes promotes relaxation

In support of Women’s Health Week  last week, Natural Gas ran with a new campaign to raise awareness of the health and wellness benefits associated with spending time near a natural flame, which has been proven to help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety.

Scientific research shows that sitting near a fire for just 15 minutes can induce feelings of calmness and relaxation, which grow stronger the longer you stay. [1] According to the research, humans have long been drawn to fire as ancient ancestors used it for warmth, protection and cooking.  An evolutionary reaction, it is believed fire satisfies the primal desires for warmth, while flame illuminates darkness and provides comfort, also providing a place for social interaction, making it easier to communicate and develop social connections.

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“Stress is an experience that can have a negative impact on both our mind and body. As such, it’s important that Australian’s recognize the health benefits of regularly making time to de-stress, by consciously selecting activities that promote relaxation,” says psychologist, Leanne Hall.

“Research suggests that sitting near a flame helps to reduce stress hormones and decrease blood pressure, making us feel more relaxed. These benefits are attributed to the multisensory experience of watching a naked flame, including hypnotic visual stimulation, sound and warmth.

Aussies are more stressed than ever with 1 in 3 people admitting they have a significant amount of stress in their lives, with this figure set to steadily rise. Stress can impact physical and mental health including negative effects on cognition and learning, immune functions, hormone regulation, cardiovascular health and the gastrointestinal system. Overall, stress can affect almost all the body’s natural systems and processes that help keep us healthy and happy.

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Ms Hall says, “Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, meaning that we are moving further and further away from nature. It’s no coincidence that we are also in the midst of an anxiety epidemic. Nature can most certainly provide an antidote to a considerable amount of this stress, and sitting and watching a naked flame is one of the best ways to re-connect with nature and relax.


[1] Lynn CD. Evol Psychol 2014;12(5):983–1003.

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