I was an essential oil skeptic. I thought, “How in the world can smelling something pretty help me emotionally – let alone physically.” I went to one of those parties dead-set not to buy a thing. After trying them, I bought a set. Soon, I was staying up way too late to read about the science behind these mysterious oils. Now, I have a full-on collection.
With copious amounts of research, I began to understand what comprises an essential oil. Yes, they often smell good, but they are also so much more!
There are a few different ways to use essential oils, including aromatically, topically and internally*.
Additionally, they support multiple health domains – physical, emotional and spiritual.
Let’s begin, in the first article in a 3-part series, with their typical association, how they smell.
Humans are ten thousand times more capable of smelling than tasting, and we experience scent long before it reaches our cognitive brains. In fact, scent is the only sense (of the five senses) that relays messages directly to the limbic system of the brain – the “emotional and memory center” – and bypasses the slower cortex.
This is why the brain establishes a strong emotional connection between certain smells and memories, and why scent can access the unconscious (what we typically term that which is less accessible by the cortex) and can conjure almost visceral imagery and associations.
Brain tidbit: Smell stimulates the olfactory bulb, which converts the information into a neural code. This code is then, in turn, relayed to the limbic system of the brain (emotional center), the hippocampus (short-term memory center), the hypothalamus (long-term memory), the pituitary gland (master gland) and other endocrine glands. These glands secrete hormones in response, which can restore hormonal balance depending on the initial code, aka the scent, inputted into the system. In short, essential oils have the capacity to alter chemical messages, relayed within the limbic system of the brain!
The Brand I Trust
Rarely do I promote a specific product. However, I going to make an exception here. I use and, can highly recommend, doTERRA for multiple reasons, but my top 3 are:
1) Quality (you can rest assured these oils are not adulterated – aka “cut” – to reduce costs),
2) Sustainable and ethical harvesting through their co-impact sourcing, and
3) A corporate culture of caring with numerous initiatives underway (doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, a non-profit seeking to free the world of disease and poverty and “ultimately empower impoverished communities with the tools needed to become self-reliant”).
And, one more for good measure – their science is extremely impressive! And, you know I like that!
To learn more, feel free to contact me or click here.
Stay tuned for our next article that explores the science behind topical usage.
Dayna Wood, EdS, LMHC, NBCC, REAT
Dayna is the founder of Integrative Counsel, where she shows stressed-out professionals how to reignite their innate creative wisdom and spark new meaning and adventure in their lives through the power of brain science. She delights in combining out-of-the-box thinking with solid scientific research, so her clients get the best of both worlds. Take the 7 Day Creative Brain Challenge to reclaim and recharge your creativity – in 10 minutes a day or less!