Believe it or not, smells can really impact our mental state! Different scents can trigger different memories and feelings based on our personal life experiences. In addition to this, there are also smells that are naturally therapeutic, such as lavender or citrus. This is what makes aromatherapy so amazing. You can actually find and use any combination of scents that make you feel different things, and customize an atmosphere for your mental health. Did you know? Humans have been using aromatherapy for over 6,000 years!
Little background for you, smell is our most primitive sense because it directly affects our limbic system. That is the part of our brains that is involved with sex, motivation and emotion. According to those who promote the use of aromatherapy, we can harness this connection by using those scents that we find pleasing, uplifting and calming.
Safety First! Using essential oils requires caution, what works for one person, may not work for you. Essential Oils are not meant to be used alone, unless you are using them in Diffusers. Also, because they are not meant to be used alone, they are highly concentrated, so they can irritate if not used properly. Diffusers are that one uses when you are interested in and would like to enjoy your favorite essential oils. What is going to a spa, but for the music and the way the place smells? You can create that air of enjoyment with Diffusers. They can be safer than candles can be if left alone. They have got high-tech too!
To help get you started, here’s a list of some essential oils and what they help with the most in aromatherapy:
1. Bergamot: Inhaling this scent has actually been found to reduce the human stress hormone and help relax you during stressful situations.
2. Chamomile: This herb both inhaled and enjoyed as a tea works very well as a nerve-soothing sleep aid. (I love this as a tea to drink at night before bedtime.)
3. Cinnamon: It has been said that the smell of cinnamon can help curb panic attacks, and also improves alertness and focus.
4. Clary Sage: This is another scent that can help with focus, and can also help instill a sense of peace to your mind.
5. Frankincense: This is a great oil to use during meditation and quiet times, since it can help you feel much more stable and grounded.
6. Lavender: This essential oil is one of the most versatile, as it helps with sleep, anxiety, and can even help lower your blood pressure. It is also available as a tea as well!
7. Lemon: All citrus scents are great for promoting positivity, but lemon works best at helping create a happy and lighthearted atmosphere. But warning with lemon essential oil as it can irritate sensitive skin.
8. Lemongrass: The oil made from this grass is a powerful tool against anxiety, and also works to repel insects. (This is a great oil to wear on a nature walk to help clear your mind and avoid bugs.) I really dislike the way it smells. 🙁
9. Peppermint: This is a perfect addition to your morning routine, since it can help you wake up feeling much more alert to start off your day. As a tea, it’s good for upset stomachs.
10. Rosemary: With a mild green floral smell, rosemary surprisingly helps give you a physical and mental energy boost.
11. Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil can work wonders for physical issues like sinus problems and headaches!
The options for using essential oils in aromatherapy are nearly endless! These eleven above aren’t even the tip of the iceberg of just how much you can benefit from a little aromatherapy. There are hundreds of oils with different properties, and hundreds of thousands of ways you can combine them to customize the perfect mixture for your mental health needs.
Next time you visit the spa or smell something that makes you feel upbeat and happy? Think about aromatherapy and what it could being used for. Do you have a favorite scent? Have you tried aromatherapy?