Guest Post By Chanda Bloom
Have you ever inhaled a scent that instantly takes you back to a special memory? Maybe the smell of baking cookies takes you back to Christmas time with your grandmother, or the smell of certain flowers remind you of a warm spring day.
These examples show the powerful relationship between your brain and your sense of smell. In fact, your sense of smell is one of the only direct pathways to your brain’s limbic system. This part of the brain is the control center for our emotions.
The Amygdala is the processing center of the brain, where sensory inputs are sorted. It helps determine our “fight or flight” reactions. It is also a primal part of our brains, and essential for survival. When our amygdala is in overdrive, the result is often anxiety, stress and fear.
Essential Oils and Your Brain
So how can we harness our sense of smell to help manage our emotions? Once a smell passes through our noses, it reaches the olfactory bulb, which sends a signal to the Amygdala. When the Amygdala is presented with sensory input that is pleasant, such as a therapeutic essential oil, it sends messages to the brain which can actually have a healing impact.
Essential oils are the most effective source for aromatherapy because they are powerful, volatile liquids distilled from plants. If distilled properly, essential oils have the ability to easily reach the emotional center of the brain to promote mental, physical, and spiritual healing.
What are Methods Used for Aromatherapy?
1. Diffuser- The easiest and simplest way of putting essential oils into the air for inhalation is to use an aromatic diffuser. It should be a cold air diffuser that disperses a micro-fine mist into the air. When diffused, essential oils also contain oxygen molecules that help purify and remove toxins from the air, further increasing the health benefits.
2. Cloth or Tissue- put 1 to 3 drops of an essential oil on a paper towel, tissue, cotton ball, handkerchief, towel or pillow case. Hold it close to your face and inhale.
3. Roller Bottle- add essential oils to a 10ml roller bottle and dilute it with a fatty carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Roll on your wrists, behind your ears, around your neck. Be cautious with topical use and always try it first on a small patch of skin to check for reactions. Make sure you are using high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils that are labeled for topical use.
4. Fan or Vent- Put oil on a cotton ball and attach it to a ceiling fan or an air vent. This can also work well in a vehicle as the area is small.
What Scents Make the Most Sense for Emotional Wellness?
Different scents have different effects on the brain, and we know everyone’s brain is different. This means you may need to play around with different essential oils to see how they make you feel.
Oils that are high in the chemical constituent of sesquiterpenes help increase the oxygen in the limbic system which can help increase endorphins and neurotransmitters. This results in a calming and euphoric effect. Oils high in sesquiterpenes include frankincense, sandalwood, cedarwood, German chamomile, patchouli, lavender, bergamot and vetiver.
If you are looking to pick up your mood, citrus oils can be great for promoting feelings of joy and happiness including bergamot, orange, tangerine, lime, lemon, or grapefruit. Some floral scents can also promote a sense of joy including geranium, jasmine, rose, and Ylang Ylang.
Maybe you want to perk up and need an energy boost. Peppermint is great for stimulating the brain as well as rosemary, basil, lemongrass, nutmeg, and black pepper.
There are even oils that are uplifting and arousing to create a feeling of excitement and romance. These include Ylang Ylang, goldenrod, rose, jasmine, nutmeg, and cinnamon bark.
Many tree oils can promote a sense of grounding and calming such as spruce, cypress, fir, and rosewood. Regardless of what scents you choose to use, make sure that you find a high-quality source for your essential oils. You only want to be breathing in pure, therapeutic grade essential oils that come from a company with experience and transparency.
There are many fake products on the market so be a smart consumer and do your research. Feel free to contact me with questions or more information. Chanda_bloom@yahoo.com, Facebook- Chanda Bloom, Instagram @essentiallybloom. Wishing you peace, love, and light.
Written By Chanda Bloom