Aromatherapy is a fascinating study and beautiful in action. We know that the scents of essential oils can affect the limbic system of the brain in profound ways. Though not a “cure,” essential oils can be very useful in managing difficult physical symptoms as well as emotional ones. The olfactory nerve connects to the thalamus, which acts as kind of a filter, which then directly connects to the cerebral cortex. Though, in the case of scent, it can bypass the filter and act directly on the brain itself. Since your brain only experiences the world through sense perceptions, which then give rise to positive or negative thoughts and beliefs, we can choose what it experiences, for good or not. It makes sense, then, that essential oils can be a positive influence on our mood and sense of well being.
In addition, the use of a singular scent when creating a healthful habit, such as meditation practice, can anchor the activity to the scent so that when just the scent is smelled, the body responds in a similar way as if it has practiced the meditation. (Think Pavlov’s dog.) This anchoring ability, paired with the actions of the essential oils on the brain’s limbic system, can be a powerful tool for stress reduction in times of overwhelm and anxiety. Here’s to feeling peaceful and calm!