Smelling Calmness: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

These days, the nose is getting a lot of attention. Well, more than noses have typically gotten in the past. Nasal irrigation is a thing, for example.

The more we study the nose and our olfactory senses, the more we find that links them to memories. There are several theories floating around the science community about why smells elicit such strong emotional responses. Jonah Lehrer of ScienceBlogs postulates in his article, “Smell and Memory”:

One possibility, which is supported by this recent experiment, is that the olfactory cortex has a direct neural link to the hippocampus. In contrast, all of our other senses (sight, touch and hearing) are first processed somewhere else – they go to the thalamus – and only then make their way to our memory center.

Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine that has been gaining popularity in the margins. Bear in mind that just because it’s categorized under something labeled “medicine” doesn’t mean it’s going to cure something. In fact, aromatherapy is most used to aid relaxation and center the mind and body, usually through essential oils.

Essential oils are “A natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted” (Google Dictionary).

Lavendar is probably the best-known essential oil. It tops’s list of 6 Essential Oils and What They Do Pro Tip, ladies: according to Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder and neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago:

Studies reveal that the number one odor that enhances male sexual arousal is a combination of lavender and … pumpkin pie!

Different essential oils have different properties. Here’s a list of many along with their properites.

A few important things to remember when experimenting with essential oils is that they are NOT to be used straight. They should be diluted with a carrier oil (olive, coconut and jojoba oils are a few examples) or diffused in a diffuser. Cinnamon oil would burn if it made direct contact with skin because it is one of those that is very potent.

Also, fragrance oils and essential oils are NOT the same thing. Fragrance oils have a larger range of scents because they are synthetically produced. These do not have the healing/centering/aromatherapeutic properties that true, 100% pure essential oils do. When purchasing oils for therapeutic and medicinal reasons make sure they are 100% pure. Amazon is a good place to test the waters with a sampler kit.

SinuCleanse Demonstration on Oprah

Smell and Memory

Google Dictionary: essential oils

6 Essential Oils and What They Do

Essential Oils Directory