Have you ever walked down the street past a bakery and the delicious aromas transported you back to your Grandmother’s kitchen?
It's immediate, right?
Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through
any other channel.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Aromas have the power to influence our lives physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Combine the impact of smell with essential oils and you have a great holistic tool for restoring your health and well-being.
Aromas can evoke memories and emotions before we are even consciously aware of it. Let me repeat that. Aromas can evoke memories and emotions before we are even consciously aware of the aroma!
What this means is that our sense of smell can skip the rational thinking part of our brain and go straight into influencing our emotion control center, our limbic system. So, when we smell an aroma that holds a significant memory for us, we can easily be transported to those original emotional feelings.
Aromatherapy is a potent tool. Essential oils (EOs) are highly concentrated forms of the naturally occurring oils of a plant. They are extracted through a distillation or expression process. And should be used with great care. EOs are highly concentrated. It takes approximately 50 roses to create a single drop of rose EO! This is one of the reasons they should be used with care and respect.
Essential oils can be absorbed into the body in 3 ways:
via olfaction (inhalation)
the skin (topical application)
Ingestion should ONLY be administered under the advisement of a trained Aromatherapist in Aromatic Medicine. Inhalation is the quickest way to get EOs into the body and is my preferred method of aromatherapy because it has an instant effect on our emotional well-being. I recommend ALWAYS diluting EOs before applying them to your skin. The reasons for this: they can irritate your skin at full-concentration which can cause dermatitis and other skin maladies, they can cause a chemical burn, certain ones can make you more susceptible to sunburns, and it's wasteful. Less is more in Holistic Aromatherapy. When diluting, we lengthen the longevity of our EOs, we protect our skin of irritations and burns, and we protect our precious plant resources.
Aromatherapy is a powerful way to help us
manage our mood states
relieve emotional and mental distress
support our physical body
enhance our overall well-being
You might be thinking… and this all happens through our sense of smell? Yes! It does!!
Our sense of smell is one of our most valuable senses. This sense develops when we are still in utero. In fact, our olfactory system can differentiate between 10,000 unique odors. That’s impressive!!
So how does this work?
We breathe aromatic molecules into our olfactory bulb, which houses our olfactory receptor cells. These cells distinguish between aromas and send that information to the limbic system. The limbic system stores our sensory experiences such as memories, pleasure, anger, instincts, etc. It is the center of all of our emotions, therefore, it influences our behavior.
Our sense of smell is important for our safety. Rotten food, approaching danger, and other bad odors may be a threat to us. Being able to distinguish between scents directly influences our health and well-being.
Our olfactory system acts like a lock and key. As I said above, the first time we smell something, our subconscious mind locks in our experiences to that aroma. Whenever we smell that scent again, we experience those original feelings.
For example, smelling cinnamon can remind us of Autumn, apple cider, and our childhood trick-or-treating. The cinnamon aroma is the key that unlocks these memories.
Scent preference is very personal. Our memories and affinities influence how we react to an aroma.
One person may dreamily think of Christmas when smelling peppermint, while another person may dreadfully remember that one night of too much peppermint schnapps! Oye!
Aromatherapy is not a one-size-fits-all kind of remedy. That is why I find it important to work with my clients to find the right fit for their personal healing journey. Together we can formulate the best aromatic protocol that suits their health & wellness goals.
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