Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful influences over our minds, body, and emotions. Think about the past week. How has your sense of smell affected you? Did you walk into the kitchen, smell dinner cooking and immediately your stomach growled? Did someone pass by you wearing too much cologne and immediately were overcome with negative feelings and maybe a nauseousness? Did an old sweater or blanket smell like a family member and immediately past memories popped into your mind and a feeling of happiness, or even sadness, wash over you? This is the power of aromatherapy.
The human nose can distinguish millions of different smells through hundreds of smell receptors. By comparison, we only have three types of photoreceptors for visual stimuli and less than one hundred taste receptors. Now, indulge me for a minute as we talk very generally on how scent triggers emotions in the brain.
Aromas are exogenous ligands received by the smell receptors in your nose. These receptors are part of the limbic system of your body which controls the emotion, motivation, learning, and memory parts of your brain. Because this system is so quickly and easily stimulated, it is important to recognize that some scents may have adverse results while some will have positive results. For example, a scent that triggers the amygdala of the brain will release a warning of danger to your body and your adrenal glands will produce adrenaline in a fight or flight reaction. When they say “You can smell danger”, they are right!
How Does this Apply to Me?
Now, how does this all translate for you? Choosing specific aromas will trigger different reactions within your body. Some scents are used for calming the mind and soul, while others are used for energy and boosting your mood. Plus you will have the added benefit of certain oils boosting the immune system, decreasing sinus congestion, or calming that nagging cough. There are two main ways I like to use aromatherapy.
Two Ways to Use Aromatherapy
First, a diffuser. This is the easiest and most convenient way to add aromatherapy into your home or workplace. Diffusers can be found online, in your starter kit, or your local drug store. A diffuser volatiles or disperses the oil into the air allowing us to breathe it in and easily be absorbed by the body. They say it only takes 20 seconds for the scent to reach your brain triggering all the beautiful parts of the brain to do what they were made for. If you’re not sure how to set up a diffuser, check out my tutorial here.
Second, use your hands. Place one drop of the oil into the palm of your hand, rub together between both hands, then hold them both up to your nose and breathe in and out for 30 seconds. Your own body can be a diffuser for your mind. Anytime. Anywhere.
If you have been unsure of essential oils, simply add one or two to your diffuser and allow your home to be the beneficiary of the happy feelings they can bring.
Do you have more questions about essential oils or the best way to implement aromatherapy in your house? Send me a message! I’d love to help you craft a strategy that will help you meet your naturalist goals.