How Does Aromatherapy Affect the Brain?
We all know our five senses: Taste, Touch, Sight, Hearing and Smell. But did you know that your sense of smell is your most primal sense? Your sense of smell evokes thoughts, emotions, moods, memories and behaviors even before you actually experience the scent in words.
Your ability to smell, also known as olfaction is different than your other scents because it goes through different pathways in the brain. First, the scent will reach your nasal cavity, olfactory bulb and then the limbic system of the brain. According to Wikipedia the limbic system is:
“a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).”
Your other senses proceed trough different pathways. Even before you are aware of a certain scent, it has passed through your brain and has hit your brain going through all these different regions affecting everything from mood to emotions and different feelings and drives such as hunger and sex etc.
For this reason, smells, especially from essential oils can affect and even influence how you think and feel, going so far as to control your memory and emotions.
Essential oils carry highly concentrated and complex natural compounds that pass quickly and easily into the limbic system of your brain. The different essential oils have different characteristics and can be extremely powerful for healing or simply bringing one to a state of balance or relaxation.
As an addition, I have to mention that perfumes or synthetic scents are toxic and typically loaded with allergens.