Fragrances for Living Blog
What’s in an Aroma? Scent Therapy Explained
The use of scent to improve health and well-being has been around for thousands of years. In the Far East as well as ancient Greece and Egypt, fragrant oils were used ceremonially. Essential oils were carefully extracted from flowers and herbs to create perfumes and medicines, anoint the sick, and scent people’s homes.
The sense of smell may be the least understood of all our basic senses. However, we do understand some things about it very well, and one of those things is its ability to evoke powerful memories and emotions. The faintest hint of a smell can transport us to a time, place, person, or event we miss, such as a holiday, relationship, trip, or special experience.
Have you ever smelled a particular perfume or laundry detergent and instantly found yourself thinking of a former partner or family member? Maybe you’ve walked past a bakery and been instantly transported to a day from your childhood when your friend’s mom baked the same thing in her kitchen as the two of you came in from playing in the snow. The smell doesn’t even have to be pleasant to remind of cherished memories. Maybe the smell of an old, musty house reminds you of the cabins where you stayed during a childhood summer camp.
Scent therapy today
Scent therapy involves using essential and aroma oils to enhance your emotional and physical health. Aromatherapy may still lie outside the mainstream world of psychotherapy and other medically-accepted therapies, but interest in its benefits has bloomed in recent years and continues to grow exponentially.
Many people who believe in the power of scent for healing use it as part of a whole-person, mind-body approach rather than as a substitute for other treatments. Many people achieve excellent results with scent therapy when they apply it thoughtfully along with more mainstream healthcare practices.
What do we know about scent and stress?
If you’ve looked into aromatherapy, you’ve most likely heard different aromas described as “calming” or “stress-reducing.” Many studies over the years have revealed that certain scents can indeed have these effects. For example, lavender is known to be soothing, while rosemary can invigorate. Peppermint can sharpen mental focus and help people complete tasks such as studying or proofreading. Over and over, people report boosts in mood and performance after inhaling certain essential and aroma oils.
It’s important to note aromatherapy is not just about the use of essential oils. A fragrance itself can often bring about the same effects. For example, the scent of coconut can calm, soothe, and reduce stress even when performing a stressful task. These findings certainly mean that we need to do more research into the world of scent to gain a better understanding, but in the meantime, the world of aromatherapy is opening in new ways all the time, and more and more people are discovering the enticing power of scent.
Whether you’re feeling sad, fatigued, or unmotivated, there’s a fragrance that can help. When it comes to emotion and scent, there’s more to their connection than just perfume and poetry. Scent therapy is both art and science, a delicate undertaking of creating specific smells that stimulate scent receptors to transmit messages to the part of the brain that governs feelings, memory, and creativity.
The sense of smell is perhaps the most primal and the most influential of all the senses. It has a surprising impact on our cognitive and emotional state. Simply by smelling a specific scent, we may notice physical and emotional changes, especially when it comes to mood. We naturally gravitate toward scents that improve our mind-body experience by making us feel more relaxed, optimistic, focused, or energetic.
Our response to specific scents is highly personal and individual, but there is a correlation between certain smells and the mood changes they produce. If you’re just starting out with aromatherapy, it can feel a bit overwhelming to learn about all the different scents and their effects. One simple approach is to look for scents that promote a specific mood change – for example, giving your spirits a lift. The following scents are known mood enhancers that will have you feel lighter, brighter, and sunnier in no time.
- Citrus: Just about every member of the citrus family can brighten your mood with its invigorating and fresh scent, including orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot.
- Lemon: Lemon deserves a special mention because among the citrus scents, it is particularly effective at producing calm, clear, cheerful feelings and reducing anxiety.
- Rosemary and cinnamon: Both scents are not only delightful to smell but can also increase energy and improve mental focus.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is one of the most popular essential oils and is known to be very uplifting, invigorating the mind and boosting energy levels. It also promotes better concentration and clearer thinking.
- Jasmine: This floral aroma can bring about feelings of optimism, confidence, and renewed energy.
- Lavender: Lavender is a well-loved aroma for its unique ability to both calm and uplift. Its ability to reduce stress is what’s behind the calm and joyful mood it produces in you.
A large component of our perception of smell does not come from the scent or the oil itself but from the emotions and experiences we associate with the aroma. Scent can evoke strong emotional responses in a person simply because of the mental connection they have formed with a specific experience at some point in their life. Whether it’s sentiment or science or a combination of both, aromatherapy works, changing our thoughts, feelings, and environment. You can harness the power of scent to create daily changes in your perspective while shaping the feeling evoked by your favorite spaces.
At AromaTech, we love the world of aromatherapy, so we offer a wide range of essential and aroma oils and quality scent machines for you to love. It’s a fun and exciting journey to find out what the power of scent can do for you!