Therapeutic scents can literally help change our biochemistry, brain chemistry, transform us to a magical time and place and help us feel better inside and out instantly.
Have you ever smelled a rose and instantly felt more tranquil?
Or tasted a squeeze of lemon and felt more refreshed?
Have you smelled a scent that is reminiscent of your grandmother's perfume and you instantly think about her?
How about a whiff of peppermint that helps you feel more vibrant and alert?
Did you know that your sense of smell accesses the limbic system, which is how aromatic molecules influence the emotional center of your brain. This is where we feel, and where those feelings about our past memories are stored. Memories are stored in the amygdala.
These tiny aromatic molecules travel through our nasal cavity about 1 square inch to the olfactory bulb. They then transmit impulses to other parts of the brain such as the amydala, which is the seat of our emotions, and to other parts of the limbic system of the brain
Our sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than our other senses and sensitive to some 10,000 chemical compounds. Once registered, scent travels faster to the brain than either sight or sound. (Source)
“There are approximately 40 million trillion molecules in one drop of essential oil (that's approximately 40,000 molecules for each cell in the average human body),” explains an article on essential oils published in the International Wellness Directory. “They are so small that they enter your body through the skin and go everywhere in your body,” it adds; noting that many other therapeutic compounds found in nature have much larger molecules that are not as efficient or effective at entering cells. (Source)
What this means aromatically is that essential oils have an incredible ability to enter the body through the lungs and disperse throughout the body in a way that most other medicines are unable to achieve. The neuroscience behind how this works is somewhat complex and still under investigation, but many years' worth of trials and clinical use have shown that aromatic intake of essential oils can help improve mood, eliminate stress, increase energy levels, boost immunity, and relieve pain. Check, check, check, check!
As long as you obtain certified, pure, therapeutic grade or therapeutic grade varieties, essential oils can be safely used aromatically, topically and internally to help heal the mind and body.
What Is the Limbic System?
Of all the areas of the brain, from an evolutionary perspective the limbic system is said to be one of the oldest and most primitive, having formed many hundreds of thousands of years ago. In fact, similar systems are also found in most other animals, even reptiles. In the past, the limbic system was sometimes even referred to as the “paleomammalian brain.” (Source)
Although the limbic system works with other areas of the brain in complex ways, and therefore has far more than just one role, the word that best describes what the limbic system controls would be “emotions.” Secondly, a part of the limbic system called the hippocampus helps us form and retain memories, which is very important for learning and development.
At all stages of our life, the limbic system and hippocampus also help govern emotional behaviors. While it’s an oversimplification to say that someone’s emotions are only determined by limbic functions, it’s clear that this system plays a huge part in helping us do things like remember past events that were both pleasant and traumatic, perceive threats from our surroundings, make choices based on our experiences, control movements based on past learning, form sensory preferences/likes/dislikes, and much more.
Interaction with the Limbic system – the Emotional Brain
During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”
The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance (Higley & Higley, 1998). This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions. Knowing this, we can hypothesize how inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects! (Source)
Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds in a highly concentrated form that can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts. Please understand that I am referring to pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from plants, NOT synthetic fragrances and perfumes, which can be toxic and are typically loaded with allergenic compounds.
The area of the brain known as the amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with fragrance or through the sense of smell. In other words – the emotional brain responds only to smell and not to words that are read, spoken, heard, or felt by Braille. Our sense of smell links directly to emotional states and behaviors often stored since childhood.
Smell is the only one of the five physical senses that is directly linked to the limbic lobe of the brain – our emotional control center. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, and joy all physically originate from this region. A certain fragrance can evoke memories and emotions before we are even consciously aware of it. When smells are concerned, we react first and think later. All other physical senses are routed through the thalamus, which acts as the switchboard for the brain, passing stimuli onto the cerebral cortex (the conscious thought center) and other parts of the brain.
Essential oils enable us to access stored or forgotten memories and suppressed emotions so that we can acknowledge and integrate or release them. The word “emotions” can translate as “energy-in-motion.” Emotion is the experience of energy moving though our bodies. This emotional energy actually works at higher speed than thought. Thought and images can take seconds or minutes to evoke a memory while an aroma can evoke a memory in milliseconds.
Emotions and Oils that Help Heal the Mind and Body
Anger: Purification, Dream Catcher, Release, Lavender, Chamomile Roman, Vetiver, Bergamot, Patchouli
Wanting to tell others “off”: Frankincense
Failure: Peppermint, Lavender
Sadness: Joy, Lemon
Not getting enough of what you need: Copaiba
Feeling worthless: Frankincense
Stress: Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot, Peppermint, Vetiver, Pine, and Ylang ylang
Insomnia: Lavender, Chamomile, Jasmine, Neroli, Rose, Sandalwood oil, Sweet marjoram, and Ylang ylang; Note: lemon can wake you up
Anxiety: Lavender, Valor, Bergamot, Rose, Clary sage, Lemon, Roman chamomile, Orange, Sandalwood and pine
Depressed mood: Peppermint, Chamomile, Lavender, Orange and Jasmine
Pain: Lavender, Chamomile, Clary sage, Juniper, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, Helichrysum, Wintergreen, Yarrow and Sweet marjoram
Nausea and vomiting: Mint, Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Ginger, Fennel and Chamomile
Memory and attention: Sage, Peppermint, and Cinnamon
Low energy: Black pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Angelica, Jasmine, Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint and Citrus
I have a whole section on FEAR, since this is the one emotion that comes up over and over for others.
General Essential Oils For Fear: Sandalwood, Cypress, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Clary sage, Lavender and Roman chamomile
Fear of Failure: Fennel, Ylang ylang, Frankincense and Basil
Fear of Abandonment: Lavender
Fear of Change: Ylang ylang, Frankincense and Lavender
Fear of Love: Neroli
Fear of Gossip: Cypress
Fear of Feelings: Fennel, Frankincense, Neroli and Sandalwood
Fear of Sexuality: Ylang ylang and Patchouli
Fear of Love/Loving: Neroli, Ylang ylang
Fear of Letting Go: Frankincense, Cypress
Purification Essential Oil can be used to help balance ALL emotions.
Rub the Oils on the Emotional Energy Centers
An Excellent Guide on How to Release your Emotional Patterns Using Oils
How to use this book:
- You look up your specific emotion. The book tells you the positive side of the emotion, your affirmation, what exact oil to use, what the alarm point is and where it's located on the body – all in an easy to use chart.
- If there is a particular oil you are attracted too, you can look up the oil and see what emotions are associated with it, the corresponding affirmation and alarm point.
- Pain or specific issue you know of? Pain, always tells you the truth, it means something is going on there. What do you need? You can look it up by organ, the the book tells you the specific emotion, the positive side of the emotion, your affirmation, what exact oil to use, what the alarm point is and where it's located on the body
Emotions are stored at a cellular level in specific organs within the body. They must be cleared at this level in order to be released. Essential oils access these stuck emotions at their deepest level, by accessing the limbic portion of the brain, which is the seat of emotions. This is not a new technique – it was employed by the ancient Egyptians.
Can you Test Which Specific Oils Balance You?
Absolutely. I use BioScan Technology in my West Michigan office. Just as everything has vibration and frequency, so do plant oils. I run biofeedback sending the signatures of the oils to be tested against a person or even pet and it sends the matching signals back. I've been using this precise technology for almost a decade with fabulous results of healing. Check out some of my success stories.
- Sign up for my FREE essential oils 101 Guide to Radiant Health + an EO Organ System Usage Chart.
- Find out how to buy essential plant oils at wholesale, 24% off retail prices.
How have oils changed your life? Please tell me below in the comments.