The Basics of Emotional Aromatherapy
World Mental Health Day is this week and I have been sharing a lot about how we can use yoga to support or mental and emotional wellbeing. I wanted to also share the basics of using essential oils to to support our emotions, as they are an extremely powerful tool we can use to support us every single day.
The Power of Smell
The power of smell cannot be underestimated. Maybe the aroma of freshly cut grass reminds you of early school days playing with friends at lunchtime all those years ago (maybe that’s just me!), the smell of sun tan lotion reminds you of holidays, the aroma of cinnamon spice reminds you of Christmas. These are just a few examples, but the truth is that our sense of smell is extremely powerful in triggering memories and affecting our emotions.
How does it all work?
There is a completely rational scientific explanation as to why this happens. Aroma molecules enter our nostrils and once in there, they interact with olfactory receptors and influence the brain directly via the olfactory bulb, where the information is processed. The key point is that odours and emotions are processed in the same areas of the brain in limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for processing odours, memories and emotions and is one of the oldest regions of our brain that has existed and evolved throughout the ages.
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds, which means that tiny molecules from the oils enter our nostrils when we breathe the aroma in, and these aromas are processed like all others, and can have a profound affect on our emotions and general mood. Essential oils can also be used under the right circumstances and with the appropriate guidance and support of a professional to support working through repressed memories and trauma.
How can we use aroma to support our emotions?
We can utilise the different categories of essential oil aromas to support and manage our various emotions. Essential oil aromas can be categorised as into grasses/herbs, trees, flowers, spices, citruses and mints and each of these categories has properties in supporting specific emotions.
The wheel above illustrates how these various scents can be used when we are feeling different emotions. We can use single essential oils, or diversify the aromas using specific blends to affect our mood and emotions.
To use essential oils aromatically, they can be diffused, or worn topically as a “Pure-fume” so that the oils can be smelt throughout the day. We can even just open a bottle of oils and take a few long, deep inhales, which is so effective.
This was intended as a very brief introduction to how we can use essential oils to support our mental and emotional wellbeing everyday. For further information and resources, please see below. The book The Fragrant Mind is a fantastic resource if you really want to look into this topic.
If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and emotions in person with me either face to face or over Skype, please get in touch and send me a message. If you would like to get your hands on the oils mentioned in the link above, just head over here!