The sense of smell plays a big part in aromatherapy. Not only do you get the benefit of a therapeutic massage when receiving an aromatherapy treatment, you get the wonderful effects of the essential oils. As you inhale these aromas your mind and emotions are influenced on a subtle level by the sense of smell.
Our most primitive sense, the sense of smell, allows you to remember up to 10,000 different smells. To primitive men and women, the sense of smell was as important as it still is for many animals, only modern civilization has made us neglect its influence. The sense of smell is one of the earliest means by which we form a bond with the world. When we are born, the first thing we do it take a deep breath, inhaling the different odors in the air.
The area of the brain associated with the sense of smell is called the olfactory system which consists of the olfactory bulb, the olfactory nerve, and the mucous membranes. The olfactory bulb is the main part which transmits information to the brain. This is also the most direct contact our brain has with its immediate environment.
The olfactory system is very closely connected to the limbic system. The limbic system, also known as the ‘smell brain’, is the area of the brain which is said to contain our most basic drives such as thirst, hunger, and sex drive. It also contains our most subtle responses such as our emotions, memories, creativity, and intuition.
The olfactory system also connects to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. The hypothalamus controls our primitive emotions such as fear, pleasure, rage, lust, and bliss. While the pituitary is the master gland which governs all other glands in the body as well as controlling the autonomic nervous system.
Essential oils can be used to affect our moods as well as our emotional responses. Think of when you smell a certain food. Depending on if you like it or not your mouth may start watering, your digestive juices may start to flow, it affects your whole body.
Certain smells can trigger memories from as far back as childhood. For me the smell of lavender and jasmine reminds me of my grandparents house.
You can see how the use of essential oils is so effective to our whole body in relation to the sense of smell. When chosen correctly, an aromatherapy blend can make all the difference in your day. See the recipes for aromatherapy diffusers and test some of these out with your sense of smell.