Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.
Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.
Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.
That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….
In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.
But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)
Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.
Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…
Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.
But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?
When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.
Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”
These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.
Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.
The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.
Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.
And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.